Book review: The Australian Bird Guide by Menkhorst et al.

Title: The Australian Bird Guide
Authors: Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack, Kim Franklin

Australia benefits from a lot of good bird field guides. While we were there, we used Pizzey and Knight pretty much the whole time. On our trip to Northern Queensland, Martin Cachard of Solar Whisper Cruises told us about a new book: The Australian Bird Guide. Like pretty much all guides out there, they dare call themselves “The” Guide. Well, I think perhaps this time they are right.

This book is a true masterpiece. The illustrations are some of the best I’ve seen (see the official page for a sample). I love just browsing this book to look at all the beautiful birds I’ll hopefully see soon. Moreover, for each bird there are many different illustrations: the typical poses, in flight, in various environment, and various other poses tailored for each specific bird. The illustrations often have lines pointing to various crucial identification features, and the colours are accurate and vivid.
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Carleton University

Key species: Bufflehead, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-tailed Hawk
Other species: Double-crested Cormorant, Turkey Vulture, Common Merganser, Grey Catbird
Grey Catbird

University campuses can make surprisingly good places to find birds. For example, once I saw that someone found a Southern Boobook at the University of Melbourne. Boy, was I mad when I didn’t get there in time to find that.

Today, however, I will talk to you about Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Not only is is a great place to find birds, but it is also close to the Experimental Farm Arboretum, which is probably the most popular place to find birds within 10km of the CBD.

Canada Goose: extremely common, and rather comical

How to get there

We’ll be referring to this map throughout this post:
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The most common bird name adjectives

Bird names in their common form usually have the following syntax: (adjective) (bird-type noun). For example: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Grey Catbird, Australian Pelican. There are of course a few exceptions like Emu. For the birds that do have adjectives in their name, what are the most common adjectives that occur in the adjective part?

Black Bittern: Black is the most common adjective in bird names in their common form. Spotted in Australia in Kakadu National Park on the Yellow Water.

If you take the IOC list for example, here are the top 100 starting with the most common:

  1. black : 101 birds
  2. gray : 78 birds
  3. african : 72 birds
  4. lesser : 71 birds
  5. common : 66 birds
  6. white-throated : 66 birds
  7. brown : 65 birds
  8. little : 64 birds
  9. great : 63 birds
  10. spotted : 63 birds
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