Review of The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern Region & Western Region

stokes-field-guide-birds-eastern stokes-field-guide-birds-western

Donald & Lillian Stokes have published new regional editions to their highly acclaimed The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America (available March 26, 2013).

The books are split into western and eastern regions and are jam-packed with some of the best bird photography out there.

These guides provide the most current and up-to-date information on birds and is a complete update to the former Stokes Field Guides published in 1996.

The coverage is geographically split along an imaginary line that cuts through the great plains states: North Dakota, South Dakota up into Canada and on down through Texas. This works for us since it is difficult to divide the country in terms of bird distribution but the western parts of especially North and South Dakota seem more “west” than “east”.

Both guides follow the same format with the western boasting 2,400 photos to the eastern’s 2,200.


The best part of the guides, other than the superb photo quality, is the display of birds in various plumages and ages. When applicable, differing male and female plumages are shown as well as age cycles of gulls and other obvious plumage variances among specific bird species.

The sheer number of photographs somewhat overshadows the text. But the descriptions of birds including flight, habitat and voice notes should not be overlooked. The text is full of pertinent information to help the identification process.

All notable subspecies and hybrids are also included in the text as well as the photos.

The range maps show year-round, breeding and wintering grounds as well as migration paths.

Sprinkled throughout the species are “identification tips” boxes that further explain how to distinguish between difficult and similar looking species.


Follow Donald and Lillian Stokes on their popular blog – Stokes Birding Blog.

Disclaimer: we received copies of these books from the publisher to review on The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.

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The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern Region

The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Western Region

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