Monthly Bird Book Giveaway – February!

The Stoke’s Field Guide To The Birds Of North America

This month’s Book Giveaway is courtesy of Don & Lillian Stokes.
When I wrote to them asking about using their book and getting a signed copy, next thing I knew a book was in my mailbox. I was fully prepared and expecting to pay for this book, but after several emails, finally got the message.

So thank you Don & Lillian!

I received my personal copy from one of my daughters for Christmas and I love this book. Tons of great photographs, maps and text. This is one you want for sure. Go here for a nice review by 10,000 Birds.

So you wanna win this SIGNED by the authors book? Leave a comment here on my blog in answer to this question:

What was the first bird you remember identifying all by your self?

Comments MUST be posted by Friday February, 18th at 6:00 PM Mountain time. If you must sign in as anonymous – I MUST have your name or a way to contact you.
If you are having difficulty in leaving a comment.. please email me zblueheron AT Gmail DOT Com. I will add you to the mix.

Winner will be randomly chosen.. the numbers in the hat thing, OK?

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20 Responses to Monthly Bird Book Giveaway – February!

  1. Lorraine Snow says:

    Having grown up in Iowa I have always enjoyed the outdoors, nature and agriculture. I distinctly remember identifying the “robin red breast” by myself as a child. I remember how plump the bird looked and how the orange (red breast)was my first clue as to what type of bird it was. I am enjoying learning more about birds and have put a few bird feeders outside my window for my kitty and myself to watch these amazing creatures.

  2. Paul Weis says:

    It was either a tufted titmouse or a black capped chickadee. I don’t remember which one showed up first at the feeder tray I attached to the window sill. They were only a couple of feet away and I could see such wonderful details. That was when I was in junior high school and I have loved birds ever since.

  3. Bosque Bill says:

    A surprisingly difficult question 🙂 When I was a kid my mom identified the common birds in the yard or mountains and taught them to me. When I started birding as an adult, it was with the local Audubon Society and they identified what we were seeing until I got my metaphorical feet under me.

    But in between, after I first moved to the SF Bay Area I became interested in the birds flying above the lagoon next to my apartment. I bought the Audubon Society Field Guide, the one with all the photographs, and identified a Caspian Turn. So I’ll call that as the first one I did on my own.

    I’m sure Donald & Lillian’s book is much better and hope I’m lucky 😉

  4. Annette B says:

    I started birding in college thanks to a friend who was a biology major. Attending UCIrvine we were close to the Upper Newport Back Bay Estuary and San Diego Creek Marshlands. I don’t remember the first bird I identified myself…but I remember the first “rarity” i Identified myself. It was a White Faced Ibis that spent about a week or two in the Marshlands along Campus Drive in about 1976 or 77.

    My earliest memories of birds however were (what I now know to be) the English Sparrows that nested and twittered in the guava outside my bedroom window in a suburb of Los Angeles County. To this day, when I hear a tree/bush full of those “common” little birds, I’m transported back to my childhood and happy mornings waking to their sounds.

  5. Long long ago (1955?) and far far away (Eastern Ky) I was walking with my mom and she pointed out numerous “Snow Birds” to me. She was very excited because she seldom saw these birds. They were in a flock feeding on the ground. Forward in time to 1981 at the Rawhide Power Plant. I was trying to find a Lark Bunting in a field guide and found her Snow Birds. They are called Snow Buntings. I have never seen them since then. This is my first official field guide identification.

    FYI I was walking around Jay Hawker Ponds today. Not much activity. However, one bird caught my attention. It was Robin size or slightly bigger, appeared to be all grey, long tail that flicked as it sat on the lower branch of a scrub. It quickly dropped to the ground under some brush. The only sound I heard was a Cardinal like sound. No time for camera etc. I am thinking Catbird. I have observed two during last year. However, they should not be here this time of year. Perhaps we will find out on the 19th.

    Also observed an all black hawk with white under wing marking (like a Vulture), a slow deliberate wing beat and slightly larger that a crow. It flew across in front of me while I was driving. Unable to get any more info.

    Jim Thompson

  6. lalapapawawa says:

    Well if you mean the bird I knew right off the bat, that would be a northern cardinal. Who wouldn’t know that, right? I remember the first time I was able to identify a bird for someone else, on a birdwalk this fall in a local state park. It was the Ruby Crowned Kinglet, and we all turned the corner on it and spotted it at the same time. But I identified it first, and wasn’t even afraid to say so, because usually I think the name in my head and wait for more experienced birders to Confirm or Deny!

  7. From Mary Axelrod:

    Hi Connie,

    I saw robins and sparrows when I was a kid in Detroit, probably crows too. Later, I raised little zebra finches in a small cage in my apartment in Chicago. I bought them a little basket nest ’cause I thought it was cute and figured they could sleep in it. Well, one day I saw they had several tiny eggs about 1/4″ big then hatchlings that looked like your babies. It was a great experience watching them grow and fledge. Had to get a larger cage for more birds. I also learned more about breeding and bird behavior.

    We’ll see you on a bird walk sometime….


    Mary Axelrod,

  8. Wow, this is a tough one. Growing up in the strip mines of NE PA I can’t recall ever identifying a bird that my grandfather hadn’t know except maybe for the flicker that hit our window that my mother and I identified.

    Later I know I identified various birds coming to my feeders north of Pittsburgh, but none really stand out.

    The one that does stand out was when I was a Jennings Enviornmental Center and I saw my first Cerulean Warbler, pulled out my Petersen and made a positive id. This was my downfall as my wife would say. I switched from bird watcher to birder.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was seven when my mother used to answer the call of a cardinal(although I did not know what species it was at first other than a red bird!).He sat on the electric wire in front of our house almost every morning and he and my mom chattered to each other. I was so enchanted, my parents gave me a Peterson Guide to the Birds for Valentine’s Day.The first bird I identified with the book was a chicadee.
    Ginny G (

  10. Joy Lake says:

    That would almost certainly be a Water Rail in England. I was 10 years old and the winter of 1963 was extremely cold and snowy. I found MANY of these rails near the river where I lived. Back then they were uncommon in England and I remember writing to tell my uncle about them – he was an expert birder and was very suspicious of my ID – thinking I must have confused them with Moorhens or Coots both of which are extremely common. I knew better even though I was only 10 – finally he drove 3 hours to look – not one could be seen but a few weeks later my aunt was visiting and we did see ONE. I was somewhat vindicated. Still to this day when I am back in England and I visit my home village I look for them – never seen them since.

  11. WillBCO says:

    When I was first birding, I happened to be out with a friend. We saw a very unusual bird. I was able to identify it as a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. I think I was able to confidently identify it only because it is so unique. Since then, I’ve never seen another one in Colorado. Did see them in Arkansas.

  12. Liz Gordon says:

    I had been a birder for almost five years. Mostly birding with my first husband, an accomplished bird artist in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Most of the time when we went birding things were simply pointed out to me. I never had to work for an identification it was just handed to me. I learned a lot but not the fine points of bird identification.

    One fall we were invited to join the University of Missouri on a bird banding trip to Puerto Rico. It was a great trip with 6 ornithology students, their professor, my husband and me. We stopped at several places on the way to our final banding station in Guanica.

    On one of those stops the group was looking at a couple of birds in the forest edge as I was scanning to find “the” bird I was stopped in my tracks by a bird I knew from the book I had been studying before the trip. “Hey you guy’s-is this a mangrove cuckoo?” the answer came back no we are looking at a such and such. I said “No, I am looking at a mangrove cuckoo!” The group turned their attention towards my bird. Sure enough it was a mangrove cuckoo. It still looms large in my memory as a novice birder to be able to show such advanced birders such a great bird was a very precious moment for me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    For me it was a Cardinal. I got into birding when I was an adult, but I vividly remember how much I loved when Cardinals came to my parents feeder when I was younger. I did motivate me to learn about other regular visitors like tufted titmouse, but I think the Cardinal was the first bird that I could identify on my own. Sure do miss them out in Colorado, but we have plenty of other magnificent birds to enjoy.
    Email –

  14. The first bird I identified on my own was a grackle. They were abundant in my Arvada backyard. It was hard to describe their ‘call’. One day I read that grackles make a noise that sounds like a squeaky doorhinge. Bingo. They are my favorite bird… many in a flock and noisy as all get out. It’s awesome to listen to them when they’re settling down for the night or just hanging around in the yard trees during the day.

    Your ‘keets are so cute. About 10 years ago my husband and I found a male on the greenbelt one Memorial Day week-end. He (my husband ; ) removed his shirt, wrapped the bird (soon to be known as Bert) in it and we took him home. After discovering how difficult it would be to find his owner, and after investing a few $$ on a cage and food, we became bird parents. He lived for about 7 yrs w/us. We have had a succession of parakeets since finding him. They’re fun to watch, we have a pair of males that are allowed to fly around the room and play on top of their cage. Thanks for sharing your parakeet adventures with us.

    Rhody Keegan
    Golden, CO

  15. farmgirlka says:

    The earliest memory that I can recall identifing my own bird was about age 5. The bird was a pigeon. I was so proud. I was walking done to the barn with my dad @ 5am to go the morning milking. We used to have a ‘pet’ crow that used to hitch a ride from the house to the barn. Charlie (the crow) try fly after some pigeons by the silo to scare them away. I yelled at charlie to let the pigeons be.

    That’s one of my first memories. Thank you for letting remember an old memory. 🙂

  16. Deb Evers says:

    Though I’ve always been aware of birds in the peripheral of my life, my first actual birding i.d. was probably an American Avocet. My then-boyfriend (now hubby) asked me to go with him to a local lake to view the Avocets. I had no clue, but suspected it was somewhat like “watching the submarine races.” When I realized that he was seriously bird-watching, I think I was the first to spot the birds.

  17. Anonymous says:

    My first bird to id all by myself was a Magnificent Frigatebird. Growing up in East Texas, my family always rented a beach cabin on the Upper Texas Coast during the summer. One year, the day before leaving I bought the 3 volume National Audubon Photographic Guide to Birds. The next day, I spread all the books out on the sand and decided to id the first bird I saw. Turned out to be the Frigatebird. I think the books still have sand in the binding.
    Cade (

  18. Anonymous says:

    It was a black-capped chickadee a few years ago. I would see them around our yard a lot, and I found them in our Audubon bird book, but my Dad did not believe me. Then I pointed one out to him, and I taught him what their song is – chicka dee-dee-dee.

    Duncan Young, age 11

  19. Hi Connie,

    It may have been fifteen years ago that my friend Danny and I chose to visit the Pawnee Grasslands
    and Buttes. We heard about Crow Valley Grasslands and thought it would be “novel” to camp on
    the plains instead of the mountains.

    Danny heard it was a popular spot for birders, so he brought his copy of Peterson’s Western Birds.

    We pitched our tent, walked up to the picnic shelter and found a couple pamphlets. One was a map of
    the auto birding tour; the other a bird list for Pawnee Grasslands.

    The birds on the list presented a challenge. Horned Larks? Longspurs? Lark Buntings? Lark Sparrows?
    Western Meadow Larks? Brown Thrashers? Where to begin?

    I grew up in western New York knowing the common birds of that area.
    Since moving to Colorado I had become familiar with the hummers in the mountains,
    gray jay “camp robbers” at the ski areas and the flickers around Denver. And “Canadian” sic
    geese All year, what a treat!

    I had never used a bird field guide, how frustrating it was to match the names of these birds with
    the pictures. I marked the pages with bits of paper and we proceeded north on 77.

    “Danny, there’s a bird stop, now back up”, I shouted as I viewed it through my Carl Ziess Jena pre WWII

    A beautiful bird sat on a fence. How humbling, as I recall the excitement I felt when I flipped through the marked pages
    looking for this beautiful bird with a brilliant yellow breast with a lovely black bib, the western meadow lark!

    That day we ID’d several other birds on the list, none were more beautiful than that interesting bird with
    the black bib.

    Betsy Shaw

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