The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots by Bob Gress and Pete Janzen describes 295 of the species you are most likely to see in Kansas. Every bird has its own page, including a color photo and information on identification, habitat, and seasonal occurrence, not to mention some interesting facts. For instance:
- Snowy egrets run crazily through the water with their wings over their heads when they go fishing.
- The best way to see a whip-poor-will is to drive down a quiet road after sundown and look for glowing red eyes in the headlights.
- Western Barber County is the best place to see a greater roadrunner in Kansas.
- The eastern phoebe is one of the earliest migratory songbirds to return in the spring.
- A black-and-white warbler sounds like a sewing machine.
But The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots contains much more useful information than that. It includes hints on birdwatching, a calendar of bird activity in Kansas, and a life list of all the birds ever reported in the state. Only the passenger pigeon (extinct), the Carolina parakeet (extinct), and the Gunnison sage-grouse (extirpated from Kansas) are excluded.
Of special interest to Kansans is the section on birding hot spots, the best places to view wild birds in Kansas. Sites range from Fort Leavenworth, one of the most popular places to see migratory warblers in the state, to Cimarron National Grassland, home of many western bird species that are hard to find elsewhere in Kansas. Several birdwatching destinations are also recommended as day trips for residents of Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City.
Although this book is not really a field guide, it is still very useful when trying to identify a bird. By using the information on when and where you are likely to see a particular species in Kansas, you can eliminate some of the possibilities. Also read the “Field Identification” and “Field Notes” sections to find tips on distinguishing between confusingly similar birds.
If you are an avid birdwatcher in the Sunflower State, you are likely to enjoy The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots. Start adding to your life list!