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Some Of My Favorite Natural History I.D. Guides

12-3-18 books IMG_5296 (002)I have a fairly extensive natural history book collection which is heavily used for research.  It occurred to me that if there’s a naturalist, or a budding naturalist, on your holiday gift-giving list, or if you would like to expand your own natural history library, you might appreciate some suggestions.  The three books I’ve chosen are not fresh off the press.  One was published 15 years ago.  But they are all in print, and each of them has solved many an identification mystery for me.

March Elbroch’s Mammal Tracks & Sign covers a wide range of categories – photographs and extensive text regarding North American mammal tracks, scat, trails and a million other signs.  David Wagner’s Caterpillars of Eastern North America has never failed me when I’ve found an unfamiliar caterpillar.  He includes photographs and information on habitat, range, common food plants and more.  And who hasn’t found a bird feather and wondered what species it came from?  In addition to Scott and McFarland’s photographs of feathers in Bird Feathers, they go into the history, structure and types of North American bird feathers.

Any one of these books would answer most identification questions in their respective fields.  If you have a naturalist in mind to give one to, you might want to subtly check to make sure these aren’t already in his or her possession.  Of course, this post was written with the assumption that the lucky person who receives your gift already has Naturally Curious and Naturally Curious Day by Day! I hear the author also writes children’s nature books for the very young (3-8).

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6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    In addition to much that I am thankful for, I have the ‘Caterpillar’ book…it helped me identify two gorgeous caterpillars on my Golderods: Brown Hooded Owlets! I also have ‘Naturally Curious’ and all ten of Mary’s awesome Children’s books. Thank you!

    December 3, 2018 at 8:26 am

  2. janetpesaturo

    All great books. A couple other greats: Tracks and Sign of Insects and other Invertebrates, by Eisemann and Charney, and Animal Skulls, by Elbroch.

    December 3, 2018 at 8:28 am

  3. Deb Hawthorn

    Many thanks for these helpful suggestions, Mary.

    December 3, 2018 at 9:36 am

  4. Daphne

    Mary, I wanted to let you know that not only have I given your children’s book to many young ones (who all love them), but I also keep a full set at the house for visitors. As a hospice volunteer, I am currently seeing a client with dementia, and knowing that she loved animals, I now take one of your children’s books with me each time I visit, and she gets so much pleasure from looking at each photo as we talk about what we see. Thank you!

    December 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

    • Thank YOU so much, Daphne. I love hearing about how my books are used, and the thought of you sharing them with your clients makes me feel so good. Thank you again.

      December 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm

  5. Thank you so much, I know what my grandchildren are getting for Christmas. Mammal Tracks & Sign sounds like their kind of ID book they would use. I hope you have the best holiday season Mary!

    December 3, 2018 at 11:57 am

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