Onward I go in my field guide journey towards all the birds of the world. Next stop: New Jersey with The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution by William J. Boyle, Jr.. Until I read this book I had no idea how fascinating a bird population you could find in New Jersey! There are over 450 species that visit or have lived in this state: past or present! How great is that? Although, technically, I am not certain this is a field guide but it is a book about birds in New Jersey!
The author, William J. Boyle Jr., goes out of his way to help birders find the birds they want to find by telling you where you can find a bird and when is the best time to do so. He also gives details on how a specific species of bird population has changed over the course of history to present date, when such information is available. He also gives detailed accounts of rare sightings. The Birds of New Jersey starts with an introduction giving us a succinct description of the nine areas of New Jersey: The Ridge and Valley Province, The Kittatinny Mountains, The Kittatinny Valley, The Highlands, The Piedmont, The Coastal Plain, The Inner Coastal Plain, The Outer Coastal Plain,Â and The Pine Barrens.
William Boyle Jr. gave very detailed descriptions of each bird and took his time telling us anecdotes about various birds since the book was covering only birds in New Jersey. I was a bit disappointed to see there were not pictures or illustrations for each bird, he makes up for by giving extra information, stories, history, etc. For example, there is the Varied Thrush and this is what he writes about it,
Varied Thrush is a bird of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest that wanders to eastern North America in small numbers every fall and winter. It has occurred in New Jersey more than twenty times, including this female (picture is in the book: see below) that visited a River Vale, Bergen County, backyard for two consecutive winters in 2004 and 2005.
For each bird found in New Jersey, he gives “the abundance and distribution for the different seasons and different regions of the state. For migrants, [he has] given the approximate migration periods and some reference to extreme dates.” It also includes distribution maps color coded to where you can generally expect to find the bird in that area, breeding season…etc. Some anecdotes and when it was last seen, if it is not a common or current resident or visiting bird.
Overall, I was pleased to learn about the various birds of New Jersey. And would love to go visit someday to see some of them! =) The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution by William J. Boyle Jr. was worth the read, filled with fun history and easy to read accounts of each bird.