The Art of Bird Finding is a compact, instructional guide to assist in the search of birds. Through 82 pages, Pete Dunne covers a great deal of ground with tips and tricks to help you find birds. But don’t expect much of any guidance on how to actually identify the birds you find. The scope of this book is highly focused on what the title claims: bird finding.
So what is covered in The Art of Bird Finding? A lot of it is common sense, especially for more experienced birders. But the collective thoughts and methodology forms a bigger picture and melds together techniques that sometimes get overlooked or underutilized.
For example, using radar to detect bird movements is something I’ve tried and forgot about and it was nice to have the reminder of its usefulness. Or how about the judicial use of “pishing” to attract birds’ attention or not to wear white, ever, while birding. Dunne goes into detail on how and why these “tricks” are useful. He’s even written an entire book on pishing, that is using various sounds to “call” birds. It comes with a CD and is quite enjoyable.
One thing I have to question is Dunne’s take on playing back bird sounds. While he admonishes using playback around breeding or territorial birds, he justifies the use “…for example, when used, judiciously, by an experienced tour leader to entice forest birds into the open for monetary views by a group (instead of putting patrons at risk and disrupting a forest environment by charging off a trail).” This sounds good but is a bit of a stretch, essentially saying that as long as you are paying a guide it is OK. Of course, if every birder was always playing back sounds, that would be highly disruptive and unethical, but this caveat leaves it a bit too open to interpretation and starts to traverse the path of elitism, something birding has been stained with for awhile.
Dunne’s writing style is entertaining but some may find a bit snarky or know-it-ally. But he has been birding forever and has a penchant for promoting not just birding but the ins-and-outs of birding.
The Art of Bird Finding is a handy addition for birders looking for a little more explanation of aspects of birding they are probably already doing.
Disclaimer: we received a copy of this book from the publisher and have linked to our Amazon Affiliate above.