The Birder's Bookshelf

The following references include my favorite publications covering the birds of our region. There are many other books and articles on the birds of Southern California that you may also find useful. The ones listed below are, in my opinion, among the most scholarly and reliable. In most cases, the authors have done considerable field research in Ornithology and are highly respected by other scientists. This reference list will be updated periodically.


* Beedy, Edward C. and Edward R. Pandolfino. 2013. Birds of the Sierra Nevada. Their Natural History, Status and Distribution. Univ. of Calif. Press. 430 pp. (*See the following link by David Lukas: http://www.birdsofthesierranevada.com/)

Cogswell, Howard L. 1977. Water Birds of California. Univ. of Calif. Press. 399 pp.


Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye  1988. The Birder's Handbook. Simon & Schuster Inc. N.Y.  785 pp.

Hamilton, R. A., M.A. Patton and R. A. Erickson (eds.) 2007. Rare Birds of California. Western Field Ornithologists, Camarillo, CA  504 pp.

Howell, Steve N.G.  2012.  Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide. Princeton Univ. Press.  483 pp.

Kaufmann, Kenn  1990.  A Field Guide to Advanced Birding. Birding Challenges and How to Approach Them. Houghton Mifflin Co. N.Y.  299 pp.

Miller, Alden and Joseph Grinnell 1944. The Distribution of the Birds of California. Artemesia Press. 615 pp.  Available online: https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/pca/pca_027.pdf

O'Brien, Michael, Richard Crossley and Kevin Karlson  2006. The Shorebird Guide. Houghton Mifflin Co. N.Y.  477 pp.

Schram, Brad.  2007.  A Birder's Guide to Southern California. American Birding Association, Inc. Asheville, N.C.  432 pp.

Unitt, Phillip. 2004.  San Diego County Bird Atlas. Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History (No. 39). Ibis Publishing Co. San Diego Natural History Museum.  645 pp.


General Reading: The following publications sample a broad spectrum of literature on birds, from classic texts and travelogues to the humorous personal accounts of birders in the field.


Ackerman, Jennifer  2016.  The Genius of Birds.  Penguin Press, N.Y.  335 pp.


Chapman, Frank M.  1908.  Camps and Cruises of an Ornithologist.  D. Appleton and Co., N.Y.  432 pp.


Cocker, Mark   2001.  Birders: Tales of a Tribe.  Atlantic Monthly Press, N.Y.  230 pp.


Cokinos, Christopher  2000.   Hope Is The Thing with Feathers. A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds. Warner Books, Penguin Putnam, Inc. N.Y. 374 pp.


Darlington, David  1987. In Condor Country. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston   242 pp.


Levine, George  1995.  Lifebirds.  Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick.  179 pp.


Mlodinow, Steven G. and Michael O'Brien  1996. America's 100 Most Wanted Birds.  Falcon Publishing Inc., Montana  496 pp.


Strycker, Noah. 2017. Birding Without Borders. Houghton Mifflin, N.Y. 326 pp.


Swick, Nate  2015.  Birding for the Curious. Page Street Publishing Co. Salem, Mass. 176 pp.


Thelander, Carl G. (Editor)  1994. Life on the Edge: A Guide to California's Endangered Natural Resources. Vol. 1: Wildlife.  Biosystems Books, Santa Cruz, CA and Heyday Press, Berkeley, CA  550 pp.


Weiner, Jonathan   1994. The Beak of The Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time.  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., N.Y.  332 pp.


Welty, Joe Carl and Luis Baptista  1988. The Life of Birds.  W.B. Saunders, N.Y.  581 pp. (+ appendices).