Good morning fellow Nerd Birders!
I have another excellent Princeton Field Guide review to share with you today, Birds of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire by Bart De Boer, Eric Newton, and Robin Restall.
This guide is the first and only of its kind for this area of the world, which makes it an important contribution to the birding community. It visually different, as you can see, from the other Princeton Field Guides I reviewed this week (North America and Greenland & Hawaii, New Zealand and the Central and West Pacific). It begins with an interesting introduction, giving us a feel for the area we are exploring with a map of the are as well as its succinct history. Then it goes into general flora and fauna in this beautiful area of the world with a fair amount of detail, even including pictures. Like the other Princeton Field Guides, the Birds of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire has a page on how to use the book, a quick reference guide and a bird topography page to help you identify the various parts of any bird. It is also made of water resistant pages and is small enough to take with you on vacation without adding too much bulk.
These particular islands are full of lovely birds but there are certain hot spots for birds and other places set up for management and conservation where you should not go in order to protect the birds. This guide explains where these are and how to recognize them. This is an important part of responsible birding, protecting the birds and respecting governmental attempts to do so by avoiding protected areas. This guide gives proper respect to helping you know where to go and where to avoid to enjoy and conserve the beautiful birds on the islands.
Like the other Princeton Guides, you can see the colorful illustrations on the right pages and on the left pages the descriptions including each bird and its multiple names, where it is found, when it can be found there, its habitat, its specific calls/songs, its status and distinguishing characteristics of each bird. This guide, however, does not have the small illustrated distribution maps next to the descriptions on the left. This is probably because it covers much less area and so extensive distribution maps are not necessary in most cases.
This is another field guide I would recommend to anyone who loves or is interested in birds. Even if you never make it to the Lesser Antilles, you can learn about their birds in this guide. But, you never know where you might find yourself one day and having this book might be handy. =)