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Tufts, Robie W.

3rd ed. Halifax. Nimbus Publishing and the Nova Scotia Museum, c1986. 478pp, paper. $29.95, ISBN 0-920852-66-1. CIP

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Hugh A. Cook

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

Author Robie Tufts was a well-known birder of the east coast of Canada. This third edition of Birds of Nova Scotia is an updated version of his earlier works. The accounts given are concise and interesting. The average birder should be able to identify his/her sightings by the descriptions given.

However, there are several items in this book that would disturb me as a novice birder attempting to identify an unknown bird. First of all, there are no divisions of the birds listed. A new order or family may be introduced in the middle of a page without even the change being underlined. I failed to notice these changes on several perusals. Birds of different orders and families are grouped on several of the colour plates without any reason given in either the introduction or the descriptive comments. Neither the orders nor the families within the orders are given in alphabetical order, except in the index, again without any obvious reason. Although the water birds are basically listed first, there does not appear to be any other obvious division, such as birds of the forest or open meadow, etc., that would assist the birder in the use of the book for first identification. Therefore, as a book that one might use for bird identification I believe that this one has very limited appeal. Many of the birds annotated are not included in the forty colour plates that are from the works of Roger Tory Peterson and John Crosby.

As stated earlier, it does have interesting accounts and it carefully records the occurrence dates and abundance of the species. One interesting feature not commonly found in other bird books is the inclusion of additional drawings of certain birds whose immature offspring may be confused with other species or where the summer and winter plumages are vastly different. The line drawings by John H. Dick are interesting and illustrate certain bird characteristics. In spite of the confusion I felt in trying to use this book as a bird identification source, I believe that it would be a worthwhile addition to a birder's library.

Hugh A. Cook, North York Board of Education, North York, Ont.
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