List of Recommended Field Guides main content.

List of Recommended Field Guides

Part of the Biodiversity Counts Curriculum Collection.

Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs
Author: Sue Hubbell 
Publisher: Random House, NY: 1993

California Natural History Guide No. 50: The Natural History of Vacant Lots
Authors: Vessel, M.F. and H.H. Wong
Publisher: University of California Press, Berkeley: 1987

A Field Guide to Insects North of Mexico
Authors: Borrer, D.J. and R.E. White
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA: 1970

A Field Guide to Nearby Nature: Fields and Woods of the Midwest and East Coast
Author: Kochanoff, P.
Publisher: Mountain Press, Missoula, MT: 1994

A Field Guide to Your Own Backyard
Author: Mitchell, J.H.
Publisher: W.W. Norton, NY: 1985

Fruit Key and Twig Key to Trees and Shrubs
Author: Harlow, W.M.
Publisher: Dover Publications, NY: 1946

Guide to Colorado Wildflowers
Volume 1: Plains and Foothills
Volume 2: Mountains
Author: Guennel, G.K.
Publisher: Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO: 1995

How to Know the Spiders
The Picture Key Nature Series
Author: Kaston, B.J.
Publisher: Wm C. Brown Company, Dubuque, IA: 1972 (third edition)

No Bones: A Key to Bugs and Slugs, Worms and Ticks, Spiders and Centipedes, and Other Creepy Crawlies
Author: Shepherd, E.
Publisher: Macmillan, NY: 1988

The Shrub Identification Book
Author: Symonds, G.W.D.
Publisher: William Morrow, NY: 1963

Spiders and their Kin
The Golden Guide Series
Authors: Levi, H.W. and L.R. Levi
Publisher: Golden Press, NY: 1990

Suburban Nature Guide: How to Discover and Identify the Wildlife in Your Backyard
Authors: Mohrhardt, D. and R.E. Schinkel
Publisher: Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA: 1991

The Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees
Author: Symonds, G.W.D.
Publisher: M. Barrows, NY: 1958

Tree Trails in Central Park
Author: Graff, M.M.
Publisher: Greensward Foundation Inc., NY: 1970

Trees of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada
Author: Harlow, W.M.
Publisher: Dover Publications, NY: 1957

Winter Botany: An Identification Guide to Native Trees And Shrubs
Author: Trelease, W.
Publisher: Dover Publications, NY: 1931

Woodlands, Wetlands & Wildlife: A Guide to the Natural Areas of New York City Parks
Publisher: City of New York Parks and Recreation: 1994 

Field Guide Series

Audubon Society Guides
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, NY
The Audubon Society puts out three series of identification guides: Field Guides (comprehensive), Pocket Guides (limited to most common species), and Nature Guides (guides to major ecosystems, including their habitats and inhabitants), all of which use photographs to illustrate species. These series support identification through the use of the most salient shapes and colors of species (while the text supplies more general information), and the photographic plates are arranged by these characteristics. This organization assumes that the user will page through the book rather than follow a key when searching for a species' identity.

Golden Guides
Published by Golden Press, NY
Golden Press publishes two series: Golden Nature Guides and Golden Field Guides. These are excellent, easy to follow, and extremely inexpensive series intended for children and beginner naturalists. The books use colored drawings as species illustrations, with text descriptions on the opposing page. Identification is based on comparisons between specimens and drawings (there are no keys), while limiting scientific terminology.

Peterson Guides
Published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston
Peterson puts out two series: Field Guide (comprehensive) and First Guide (more simplified, less comprehensive). Identification is based on "keying out" species using a simplified dichotomous key. Species are illustrated using both color and black-and-white drawings, with arrows placed to point out key "species-specific" features. Identification can be done either using the key in concert with the pictures, or through comparison with the pictures.

Stokes Nature Guide Series
Published by Little, Brown and Co., Boston
The Stokes Guides are limited to the most common species. These focus on how and where organisms live through discussions of behavior, ecology and life history. Species are illustrated through black-and-white drawings, which are scattered throughout the text. Identification is made by comparison with these pictures.