Tuesday Tools | Birds of Illinois Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
OK, you may look at this gadget and think, "Isn't that a book? It's not Wednesday."
True, it is a book, but not one you sit down and read. It's a reference book. A paper app!
If you like looking at birds or are curious about the world around you, Stan Tekiela produced an amazing set of field guides on birds, animals, wildflowers and trees. His website is also helpful: naturesmart.com
I picked this up at Sam's years ago. You can get it on Amazon. Don't live in Illinois? Lucky you....I mean, that's OK...he's produced books for many states around the country. Check out his amazon author page for options.
I like this guide for many reasons:
1. It is tabbed by color. When you site a bird, determine its dominant color, then look it up.
2. The pictures are vivid and they are actual pictures, not drawings.
3. Every page has a section called Stan's Notes. They are incredibly descriptive and often point out several unique characteristics that help identify the bird. I still remember the first time I saw what I thought was a Baltimore Oriole. I was not sure if they even lived in Illinois. He writes, "Fantastic songers, you are likely to hear this bird before seeing it." He was dead-on accurate. I heard the song and thought, "I've never heard a bird like that before." I started to search and spotted him at the top of the tree. The last part of his description says, "They sit in the tops of trees feeding on caterpillars." The description was a perfect match. I now have an Oriole feeder. They live in my yard all summer.
4. Like many guide books, it provides a map showing when and where the birds live.
5. Many times he includes an image of the female too, especially if there is a stark difference.
6. The picture and description is on the same page. Other books divide them up. For me, this is better.
If you have kids, this is a great book to take on a walk along a nature trail. It is very compact, and simple enough for them to use. If you're in Scouts or another outdoor-oriented club, it's indispensable.
BTW...I saw the bird on the cover several times this past week while camping in Wisconsin. The first time I ever saw one it was drinking out of a puddle on the sidewalk in front of Bob and Carol Mores' house in Joliet. It looked surreal, like a miscolored Cardinal. Know what it is? I do. I looked it up in this guide as soon as I got home.