Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Stokes Regional Guides

On March 26th, birders will be able to obtain regional editions of BirdingIsFun.com's own Lillian Stokes' acclaimed field guide. Just in time for Spring migration! My praise for their field guide from two and half years ago still stands firm which you can read here.

From personal experience, whenever I attend a public birding event, I often layout my entire arsenal of field guides. The Stokes field guide always gets the most attention and interest. People just love a photographic field guide that shows right amount of plumage diversity that we active birders need.

So what's new with "The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds" editions?

Portability - the "Big Stokes Guide" is a tank. It is a wonderful volume, but is too large to be considered practical in the field. The new regional guides are the perfect size and shape for tradition birding field use. Regional guides have the unique ability to help newer birders focus on birds more likely to be seen where they live.

Updated Information - since 2010, several common and scientific bird names have changed, sequencing on taxonomic lists have been modified, so too have maps*.

You can purchase The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds Eastern Region and Western Region for as little as $12.18 at Amazon.com.

The next step in portability I'd love to see from the Stokes is an app for smartphone and tablet which would combine their amazing photos and description with their wonderful sound files.

*With all due respect for the work of Paul Lehman, pretty much the go-to bird map guy in North America, these maps are still behind the times. I'm sure there are complicated protocols for when to adjust a species range map that I don't understand, but my impatient generation wants real-time information. I'd still love to see someone openly state that eBird data contributed to updating their maps. Bewick's Wren is the first example I can think of in which map changes are almost two decades behind the times for my region of Idaho. Shoot, I'll make myself available to do the leg work for any field guide creator that would like me to consult eBird sightings data in preparing range maps for their guides.


  1. The "Big Stokes Guide" is one of my favorites! I'm with you on a Stokes smartphone/tablet app, Robert! Thanks for the review. I'm off to Amazon to check out the new Stokes regional field guides.

  2. Darn. I just bought the North America version. Should've waited for the western version. So far, I am enjoying the beautiful pics and useful identity info.

  3. Sherrie,
    Many people have told us, even though they own the North American Version, they are also getting a regional version for carrying in the field, because it is portable and lighter. Also, the North American guide has more rarities than the regional guides, because the extreme rarities were not included, so as to make the regional guides lighter and more portable.
    Lillian Stokes