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
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).