Books for Bird Lovers

Jill Staake

If you’re still on the lookout for gifts for the birders in your life, or are just looking to add to your own collection, I’ve compiled a list of five books for all kinds of bird-lovers. Take a look at these suggestions, and add your own in the comments below. (Prices are approximate.)

For Serious Birders: Every serious birder needs a good bird guide. My personal go-to is the Sibley Guide to Birds. It includes illustrations of birds in adult and juvenile plumage including seasonal changes, birds in flight, comparison charts, and clear range maps. It’s a big book, so it’s not necessarily the best one to tote around in the field, but the terrific amount of detail it offers makes it worth having. ($26 at


For History and Art Lovers: John James Audubon is the world’s most famous birder, and he drew more than 400 illustrations of birds in the Americas. Every one of those drawings is collected here in this edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, beautifully reproduced to be admired in detail. This book isn’t inexpensive, but for those who love Audubon’s work, it might be considered priceless. ($115 at


For Life Listers: Bird-lovers couldn’t help hearing about this year’s birding movie, The Big Year. For those who liked the movie, or who’d just like to know more about the incredible adventures of three men on the birding quest of a lifetime, pick up a copy of the book that inspired the movie, The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. ($5 at


For Kids: Developing a love of birding and nature in kids early is important. Backyard Birds, a Peterson Field Guide for Young Naturalists, is designed to be easy to use and provide the kind of illustration and information kids will enjoy. Pair this book with a simple first pair of binoculars and open up a whole new world of discovery for the kids in your life. ($6 at



For Do-It-Yourself-ers: Quality birdhouses can be incredibly expensive to buy. If you know a birder who’s also handy around the workshop, buy them Easy to Build Birdhouses: A Natural Approach. This book is filled with plans for birdhouses of many species, and includes tips for birdhouse building so you can customize  your own designs. ($16 at



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