Better Birding

Tips, Tools, and Concepts for the Field

One of Audubon’s 12 Best Bird Books of 2015
One of The London Free Press’ “Great flock of birding books 2015”

Better Birding reveals the techniques expert birders use to identify a wide array of bird species in the field—quickly and easily. Featuring hundreds of stunning photos and composite plates throughout, this book simplifies identification by organizing the birds you see into groupings and offering strategies specifically tailored to each group. Skill building focuses not just on traditional elements such as plumage, but also on creating a context around each bird, including habitat, behavior, and taxonomy—parts so integral to every bird’s identity but often glossed over by typical field guides. Critical background information is provided for each group, enabling you to approach bird identification with a wide-angle view, using your eyes, brain, and binoculars more strategically, resulting in a more organized approach to learning birds.

Better Birding puts the thrill of expert bird identification within your reach.

  • Reveals the techniques used by expert birders for quick and easy identification
  • Simplifies identification with strategies tailored to different groupings of birds
  • Features hundreds of photos and composite plates that illustrate the different techniques
  • Fosters a wide-angle approach to field birding
  • Provides a foundation for building stronger birding skills


"[A] serious, immensely informative book. . . . The book is like an expertly guided tour--one that visits wetlands, open country, waterways, forests, shores, and other habitats from Alaska and the Pacific coast to Florida’s Dry Tortugas and the Gulf Stream waters off Cape Hatteras, making clear, along the way, what members of each group have in common and how they differ, and, indeed, why each bird is."--BirdWatching Magazine

"This book, written by George Armistead and Brian Sullivan, is a refreshed approach to species identification. While most field guides focus primarily on plumage, this approach is 'wide angled' and more holistic with habitat, behavior, and other contextual elements coming into play."--London Free Press

"The book covers some water birds and hawks, wrens, flycatchers, swifts and more, but wisely confines itself to groups of birds involving relatively few species. Each section includes numerous photographs and in some cases composite photo illustrations for comparisons. The accounts also include distribution maps."--Tom Palmer, Lakeland Ledger

"It comes as no surprise that Better Birding is unashamedly directed towards a North American audience. Yet because the book is devoted to better ID techniques of bird families shared across the Northern Hemisphere or vagrant species which show up on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, many of the chapters contain pages of undoubted interest to a UK audience. . . . The authors should be congratulated in sticking to their chosen parameters and not falling into the trap of producing yet another full field guide to North American birds but instead focusing on/singling out a number of bird groups worthy of special mention."--Another Bird Blog