[texbirds] The Sibley's Guide to Birds, Second Edition

First a few words to stress out that I did and will recommend Sibley’s  
guide to anybody who is looking for one. I always did and still am thinking 
that  this is one of the best illustrated bird guides ever published. I place  
photographic guides in complete different category. 
 
What disappointed me in the second edition is that the author did not  
correct some wrongly illustrated traits in tern species; just carry them all  
from the first edition and that can lead to mistakes with IDs especially by  
these who do not deal with terns too often or just started to learn about 
them.  On the other hand he is not alone as other authors have wrong 
illustrations as  well in their illustrated guides. Sometimes I am worrying if 
some of 
those  mistakes were just done by copying traits from other already 
published   books.  Notes about the bird behavior are very sparse and seems 
that 
only  these that can help with species ID are included. What I can say for 
sure is  that I learned long time ago to be very careful with using word 
‘never’
 and in  fact I am trying to eliminate this one from vocabulary when 
talking or writing  about behavior. Because I never witnessed particular 
behavior 
in a specific  species or even others wrote that birds from a particular 
species ‘never’ do  something it is not necessary a true. Perhaps to phrase 
it 
that behavior was  never documented before will be a better choice of 
words. Or even better that I  am not aware if it was documented. 
 
Of course even this book is too small to have an example of every  plumage 
variation during different time of the year or these that are age  related.  
Some colors seem to look wild but this can be a problem with the  printer. 
 
And the range maps …  According to them, I should be already running  along 
Texas shore looking for some pelagic species deep inside inland counties.  
Even that these areas are shown in green (rare), description of the green 
range  says: “maybe a single or up to a few records per year” … With time 
 I 
spend  looking for terns I should already seen a few Bridled Terns whose 
range in this  guide is quite extended into the mainland, much deeper than for 
example one  of the Gull-billed Tern. Well good luck to these who will try 
to find one (BRTE)  inland, or even along the shore; they will need it (the 
luck), plenty of it. But  there is always a better chance that one can find 
GBTE away from the  shore.  
 
I cannot say much about other bird species illustrations or their range  
maps. So far I only checked in detail tern section. Many other birds I 
wouldn't  even know if they are wrongly illustrated or not. BTW I never use 
only 
one  source (book) if a need to ID arrives. 
 
Again all who have interest in birds should buy this book.  It is one  of 
the best bird guides available anyway. And dirt cheap (about $25) - for some  
other books I had to pay 10 times more.
 
Mark B Bartosik
Houston, Texas
http://www.pbase.com/mbb/from_the_field
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