Get this book!
We’ve got a great new book at Birders’ Garden: BAY AREA BIRDS (from Sonoma County to Monterey Bay) by David Lukas, $21.95
It’s a natural history guide, not a field guide. The author describes its purpose as an “…easy resource that could help answer…questions about the lives of these (Bay Area) birds.” Each species gets life history and range discussion, although these are not equally detailed for each species. Still, the life history information is the most detailed that I’m aware of in the backyard bird literature (i.e., not scientific literature). There are no references to specific literature but every Bay Area bird authority is acknowledged. The book is especially interesting when describing breeding behavior or territorial displays. I challenge you to read about your favorite backyard birds and not find a new revelation about their tail flicking or food choices or flight patterns. As I mentioned above, there isn’t the same level of detail for all species and that can be frustrating. It’s interesting to contemplate though that, after many years of observing, for example, black-throated gray warblers which are relatively tame and easily observed, almost nothing is known of their breeding biology except that females make deep cup nests. Someday soon a backyard birder will observe their mating ritual and provide a significant contribution to our knowledge of these familiar residents.
So get this book to keep alongside your favorite field guide. And since the publishers made it field guide-sized, take it with you when you go into the field to provide another level of information about your spottings.