BOOK: The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

In 2012, Richard Crossley published his unique bird guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds, with a very cool new way of presenting birds for identification. Each bird is shown in its habitat in multiple positions. For example, here is Crossley’s spread for the American Robin:

Anyone who birds knows that they never appear just how a traditional field guide would show. Unfortunately, for us on the West coast, Crossley’s edition for Western Birds will not come out until the Fall of 2014. We have been given, however, a guide to Raptors of North America:

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori, and Brian Sullivan (Princeton, NJ; Princeton University Press, 2013), 304 pp.

Part of the revolutionary Crossley ID Guide series, this is the first raptor guide with lifelike scenes composed from multiple photographs–scenes that allow you to identify raptors just as the experts do. Experienced birders use the most easily observed and consistent characteristics–size, shape, behavior, probability, and general color patterns. The book’s 101 scenes–including thirty-five double-page layouts–provide a complete picture of how these features are all related. Even the effects of lighting and other real-world conditions are illustrated and explained. Detailed and succinct accounts from two of North America’s foremost raptor experts, Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan, stress the key identification features. This complete picture allows everyone from beginner to expert to understand and enjoy what he or she sees in the field. The mystique of bird identification is eliminated, allowing even novice birders to identify raptors quickly and simply.

Comprehensive and authoritative, the book covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species (all species except owls). Each species is featured in stunning color plates that show males and females, in a full spectrum of ages and color variants, depicted near and far, in flight and at rest, and from multiple angles, all caught in their typical habitats. There are also comparative, multispecies scenes and mystery photographs that allow readers to test their identification skills, along with answers and full explanations in the back of the book. In addition, the book features an introduction, and thirty-four color maps accompany the plates.

Whether you are a novice or an expert, this one-of-a-kind guide will show you an entirely new way to look at these spectacular birds.

– The most complete guide to North American raptors, written by some of the foremost experts
– The first raptor guide using Richard Crossley’s acclaimed, innovative composite images that show birds as they actually appear in the field
– 101 stunning color plates–including thirty-five double-page layouts–composed from thousands of photographs
– Comparative, multispecies plates and photos of mystery species that allow readers to test their growing identification skills
– Complete with introduction, 34 color maps, and detailed species accounts

Here are a few examples from Raptors: Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, and Osprey:




This is an interesting approach – what Crossley calls “Turning birding UPSIDE DOWN” – to identifying birds as they appear in their habitat and many positions, whether flying, perched on a branch, on a stump, different angles, etc. You can visit Crossley’s website for many more examples. If you are at all interested in raptors, this book is a must for your shelf, your passenger seat, or your backpack.

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