Book Review
    January 2006

Hawks from Every Angle

Hawks from Every Angle, by Jerry Liguori, Princeton Univ. Press., Princeton, NJ, $19.95.

     This is one of the most interesting bird guides I’ve ever read or evaluated. It covers all the North American accipiters, the falcons (except Gyrfalcon), Northern Harrier, Osprey, eagles, vultures (although they aren’t raptors, they are still considered with raptors because of size and appearance), and all migrating buteos. Only omitted are the Common Black-Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, and Harris’s Hawk of the southwest, and the Short-tailed Hawk of southern Florida.

     The author, Jerry Liguori, although of distinct renown all over the United States as a hawk expert, lives in Salt Lake City. He describes and shows in 339 color and 32 black-white photos all these raptors in numerous poses in flight — head-on, wing-on, 3/4 view, from beneath and above — in every position you’d expect to see a hawk. Not only that, but he describes in minute detail the differences in age between most of the birds, as well as light, intermediate, and dark morphs.

     His descriptions are lucid and distinct. When comparing birds, either of the same species but different ages or sexes, or of different species, he oftentimes uses the same criteria to tell them apart, but in such a way that it doesn’t seem like all that much repetition. Besides, repetition, when it comes to hawk identification, is probably all to the good. As the cover states, he “compares and contrasts species easily confused with one another, and provides the pictures (and words) needed for identification in the field.” He also goes into detail about how molt affects sightings, as do light conditions.

     This book, especially as inexpensive as it is (even more so through discount book sellers), should be in every birder’s library (or car trunk, where I keep my copy).

Steve Carr, January 2006


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