I thought it would be helpful to create a list of books I use researching my articles, identifying what I find outside and learning about the natural world. Even with the internet, looking in a book is often more helpful.
Some of these books are region-specific but often have counterparts to other regions. I enjoy reading nature books from other regions to understand what occurs elsewhere in nature and to inspire me to look differently at my own region.
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I find two bird identification books helpful since each one has slightly different drawings and even range maps. I’ve had these two field guides for years and have become accustomed to their format.
I enjoy writing down sightings in my bird journal and reminiscing about past bird sightings I’ve recorded.
Overlap of some species in different books is helpful when identifying plants since some plant books show more than one aspect of the plant (flower, bark, leaves, seeds, etc). Most of my plant books are region-specific to provide more in-depth information. I’m particularly fond of Plants of Southern Interior B.C. and the Inland Northwest because it is comprehensive yet not overly scientific.
With the diversity of insects in North America, my insect book collection is lacking. I’m slowly accumulating books as I find helpful ones. Each book has something different to offer, so some overlap is helpful for research.
At least for mammals, I prefer having the range of books from basic identification to in-depth coverage, both in easy-to-read format and textbook format. I find the Behavior of North American Mammals easy to read with fascinating information. The Wild Mammals of North America book delves into incredible detail—like dentition patterns—and cites all sources.
I find geology fascinating so I have a diverse selection of geology books that covers what has happened in this region geologically to where to find “cool” rocks. The Roadside Geology series covers numerous states and is fun to take with on road trips.
Other field guides
I use field guides as my go-to source for identifying something in nature before I turn to the internet for more in-depth information if I don’t have a book on the topic. For me, the colored plates with drawings or photos side-by-side are helpful to tell the difference between subjects.
I prefer to read non-fiction books for fun, so they tend to be about nature and adventures (and I often learn things in the process). These are some books that I have found interesting, refer back to for ideas or admire their writing.
I’m reading a lot of children’s books right now as my daughter loves to read. While animals that talk have their place, I find myself drawn to books that more accurately depict nature or show children enjoying the outdoors. Some of these we own, others we have borrowed from our local library. I’ll be adding to this list as I find more of these books.
What are your favorite field-guide and nature books?