World-renowned birder Kenn Kaufman addresses a long-running
paradox of bird field guides with his Focus Guide. While
beginning birdwatchers prefer photographic guides like those by
Donald Stokes, the physical traits that make identification
easier are more readily discerned in the idealized paintings of
illustrative guides like those by Roger Tory Peterson and
National Geographic. Kaufman's groundbreaking work combines the
best of both approaches by digitally enhancing photographic
images to show the characteristics that are sometimes not
apparent in photographs.
Some other distinguishing features include:
* The guide is organized by bird family groupings rather than
strict taxonomic classification; this is a feature that will
appeal especially to beginners.
* Text descriptions and range maps for each species appear on the
page facing the plate of respective bird images.
* Important field marks are highlighted.
* Color-coded tabs identify each grouping of birds (waders,
warblers, sparrows, etc.) for quick thumb indexing.
Kaufman's efforts follow the auspicious tradition of Roger Tory
Peterson, whose portable field guide system was the first of its
kind to meet the needs of the average birdwatcher. "It's the
guide I've always wanted," says Kaufman, "and I suspect most
birders will feel the same way."