BIRDING IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
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Publications and Print Resources

A guide to useful books and other publications relevant to Illinois birding.

 

SITE GUIDES | FIELD GUIDES | MAP BOOKS | OTHER BOOKS

 

PRINT RESOURCES

These recommended items will help you gain the knowledge you need to find, identify, and learn about Illinois birds.  A broad collection of the items below will make these tasks much easier.

 

SITE GUIDES

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Birding Trail Guide

 

1. A Birder's Guide to the Chicago Region:

By Lynne Carpenter and Joel Greenberg


This guide provides excellent descriptions and directions to more than 250 excellent birding sites in NE Illinois as well as nearby counties in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.  Other highlights include site productivity ranked by season, monthly birding suggestions, and a brief guide to each bird species with overall rarity and the best spots to view them.  The guide also includes excellent area maps and detailed maps of select birding sites.

2. Birding Illinois:

By Sheryl DeVore


This guide provides excellent descriptions and directions to more than 110 premier birding locations throughout Illinois.  Other highlights include a guide to 54 Illinois "Specialty Birds" and an excellent checklist of almost all Illinois bird species with an incomparable rarity "bar" that shows the bird's rarity/abundance by month and even quarter months.

3. Chicago Region Birding Trial Guide:

Bird Conservation Network, Chicago Department of the Environment


This pocket guide highlights good birding spots in the seven Illinois counties surrounding Chicago and the two north-west Indiana counties along Lake Michigan that are easily accessible to the public.  Focuses on the Chicago area.   See the guides above for a more comprehensive listing of good birding spots throughout the area.

 

Click here for more information about the guide or to download a copy.

 

 

FIELD GUIDES

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1. The Sibley Guide to Birds (North America):

Written and illustrated by David Allen Sibley


Put down your Peterson's, shelf your Golden Guide, store your National Geo., file your Stokes, and stash your Kaufmen's.  The Sibley Guide to Birds is, by far, the most accurate and helpful guide available to date.  We all have our favorite "first" bird guide, but if you cringe whenever anyone mentions "peeps", "sparrows", "gulls", "immatures", or "confusing fall warblers" than the Sibley Guide to Birds is a must-have.  It may take some time to get use to this new guide with "cartoonish, brightly colored birds", but once you dive in you will quickly see how accurately David Allen Sibley captures a bird's shape, coloring, and patterns.

2. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America:

Written and illustrated by David Allen Sibley


One of the newer additions to the Sibley series, this is an excellent companion (or replacement) guide to the above title.  This new guide comes in a much more compact form that can be easily carried in the field and covers only the birds that are seen in Eastern North America (but still as far west as the Dakotas and parts of Texas).  Lacks a few of the uncommon plumage patterns that are illustrated in the full North America version.  The smaller pictures also have slightly less detail.  Improved, detailed maps.

3. Birds of Illinois:

Sheryl DeVore, Steven D. Bailey, Gregory Kennedy


A long-overdue field guide of "319 species of birds" found in Illinois.  This is a great companion guide to the ones above, and is highly recommended for beginning birders who may find it difficult to sift through the many birds illustrated in Sibleys.  Includes maps of bird ranges in Illinois and extensive text regarding ID, habits, and status in Illinois.  Quality illustrations, but not as accurate as Sibley's.  Lacks illustrations of many female, immature, and non-breeding plumages.

4. Stokes Field Guide to Birds - Eastern Region:

Donald & Lillian Stokes


This photographic guide contains about 400 species found in the eastern half of the U.S.  It is a valuable additional resource, but is not recommended as a primary bird guide.  Sometimes photographic guides will provide insight into details of a bird that are not apparent in most illustrations, but many similar looking birds may be difficult to identify.  Some photos also subdue or wash out important features / colors on some birds.  Lacks photos of many female, immature and non-breeding plumages.  Maps are rather small and simplistic.  Short descriptive text.

5. Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America:

Kenn Kaufman


This pseudo-photographic guide combines photographs with modern technology to produce enhanced images that accurately depict colors and ensure that important field marks are well shown.  Fairly inclusive of female and immature plumages.  Moderately detailed maps.  A decent primary guide, but not to par with the Sibley guides.

 

 

MAP BOOKS

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1. DeLorme - Illinois Atlas & Gazetteer:


A detailed map book with about 95 sectioned maps showing almost all county and state roads, even including many minor gravel roads.  Excellent for long-distance trips and for chasing after reported rarities in rural Illinois areas.  Large format, thin, paged book.

2. Rand McNally [200X] Road Atlas:


An excellent US travel map including multiple maps of the Chicago area and major Illinois cities.  Also includes mile marker and distance information not covered in the DeLorme Illinois Atlas.  Great for any trips. Large format, thin, paged book.

3. Rand McNally Street Guide [200X]: Chicago 7-County:


A very detailed map book showing ALL streets and roads in the seven county area around Chicago.  Also available in smaller single or two county formats.  An invaluable resource for local birders and birders participating in Chicago area Spring Bird Counts and Christmas Bird Counts.  Standard format, thick, easy to use Spiral Bound book.

 

 

BIRD SONG CD'S

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1. Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs (Eastern Region):


This three CD set contains a very comprehensive selection of eastern bird songs including less frequently heard chips and calls. My personal recommendation if you purchase any set of bird song cd's. Great for learning songs and calls.

2. Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs (Western Region):


This four CD set is a great companion to the set above for anyone who is traveling out west or wants to be prepared for the unusual western rarities that show up occasionally in the midwest.


3. A Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides):


This CD set is a good supplement for or alternative to the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs.

 

 

BINOCULARS & OPTICS

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1. Nikon 7430 Monarch 8 X 42mm All Terrain Binoculars:


My personal choice for an affordable pair of binoculars. These binoculars have recieved high ratings even next to other much higher priced binoculars. With quality fogproof / waterproof optics and a close focus of 8.2 feet these binoculars are great for both birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. Prefer the 10x instead? Click here: Nikon 7432 Monarch 10 X 42mm All Terrain Binoculars

2. Swarovski EL Binocular 10x42:


My dream pick for the best elite pair of binoculars. These optics have stunning clarity bringing ease to your eyes even during a long, full day of birding. Airtight, dustproof, and waterproof. These binoculars also have a very comfortable feel and grip in your hands. Prefer the 8x instead? Click here: Swarovski EL Binocular 8.5x42

3. Swarovski HD-Atm 80 Angled Body Spotting Scope:


This is the latest Swarovski series of scopes to hit the market as of 2009.

4. Stokes Field Guide to Birds - Eastern Region:

Donald & Lillian Stokes


This photographic guide contains about 400 species found in the eastern half of the U.S.  It is a valuable additional resource, but is not recommended as a primary bird guide.  Sometimes photographic guides will provide insight into details of a bird that are not apparent in most illustrations, but many similar looking birds may be difficult to identify.  Some photos also subdue or wash out important features / colors on some birds.  Lacks photos of many female, immature and non-breeding plumages.  Maps are rather small and simplistic.  Short descriptive text.

5. Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America:

Kenn Kaufman


This pseudo-photographic guide combines photographs with modern technology to produce enhanced images that accurately depict colors and ensure that important field marks are well shown.  Fairly inclusive of female and immature plumages.  Moderately detailed maps.  A decent primary guide, but not to par with the Sibley guides.

 

 

SPECIALTY BOOKS

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Coming Soon.

 

 

If you have suggestions for other resources that should be included, please Contact Us.

 

 

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