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Birder's Guide to Florida

Birder's Guide to Florida

Bill Pranty

5th edition. (2005). A completely revised up-to-the minute edition of this best selling guide to birding 'The Sunshine State'. 250 prime sites are listed with detailed location instructions & brand new clearly drawn maps. Seasonal abundance bar-graphs cover about 480 species with a Specialities Section covering approx. 180 species & their best locations.

Every birder eventually heads for Florida - as much for the spectacle of so many showy birds as for the desire to add those birds to one's lifelist. A good birdfinding guide is essential here for the state is large, well-populated, and considerably altered by man. Today's pine flatwoods is tomorrow's shopping centre or trailer park. Yet, there are hundreds of locales where the birds still earn a good living, and 250 of these special spots are detailed in this guide.

Bill Pranty, following his reputation as a perfectionist and a tireless stickler for detail, has brought a new organisation to the revised guide. The state is split into five major geographic regions - the Panhandle, North, Central, and South Florida, and the Keys. Within this structure are subdivisions for coastal and inland birding sites. The familiar Lane Guide loop-trip format simply doesn't work well in a state the size and complexity of Florida, but Bill's approach should allow birders to pick and choose sites convenient to their route or to plan a birding route based on the birds they wish to see. The guide works well both ways.

Dozens of the state's most active birders were called upon to provide directions to and descriptions of the best birding sites in their local areas. Their input helped Bill to select some 250 readily accessible sites, with particular emphasis on places where Florida's speciality birds might be found. A number of locations for the newly separated species, Florida Scrub-Jay, are provided, for example.

For many visitors, the heart of this guide might be the Specialities section with its tips about where and when to look for the most sought-after species: White-tailed Tropicbird, the boobies, the beautiful egrets and herons, Wood Stork, Swallow-tailed and Snail Kites, Short-tailed Hawk, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, terns, noddies, Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Gray Kingbird, Black-whiskered Vireo, Spot-breasted Oriole, and even Shiny Cowbird.

Special attention is given to the more popular birding destinations such as Sanibel Island, Everglades National Park, the Miami area, the Keys, and the Dry Tortugas. Those visiting the major metropolitan areas such as Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg/Tampa, and the urban crush of the south-eastern coast will find descriptions of numerous sites in and around these populated areas. Scores of other locations throughout the state are depicted on the 83 new maps drawn for this revision. Many of the maps have insets to clarify the text's birding directions.

Carefully researched regional occurrence/seasonal abundance bar-graphs are included, with breeding species noted. Appended are lists of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, campgrounds, and citations of the nearly 100 publications referenced during the guide's preparation. A list of 172 species of exotic birds reported for Florida presents an interesting challenge for birders, and other flying creatures, namely butterflies and dragonflies, are also listed.

From reviews of A Birder's Guide to Florida

" ...contains the clear, excellent birdfinding directions that we have come to rely on from the ABA guides...I would not consider going to any area covered by an ABA birdfinding guide without the relevant ABA guide."

 - Joseph DiCostanzo, Linnaean News-Letter

"Reviewers are also supposed to point out the shortcomings of a book, but there is little that I can say negatively about this one. The book is an outstanding guide to birding sites in the state."

 - Bruce Neville, Florida Field Naturalist

"Just what a good, where-to-watch guide should be."

 - Gordon Hamlett, BirdWatching (UK)

"While nominally an update of earlier versions bearing the same title, this new edition bears little resemblance to its precursors. This one is much more thorough, the text is much more clearly written, the maps are far superior, and the appendix material is more detailed... The American Birding Association is to be commended for nurturing such improvements, and Bill Pranty's work on A Birder's Guide to Florida is worthy of the highest praise."

 - Mark Garland, Audubon Naturalist News

"If a bird-finding guide is rated solely on how well it helps you locate your target species, the 4th edition of A Birder's Guide to Florida by Bill Pranty scores top marks."

 - Colin Jones, Birders Journal

418 pages.

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