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We're frequently asked for recommendations on birding books and gear. Here are some of our favorite items that we actually use with convenient links directly to Amazon. There is no additional charge if you buy any of these through our store.
BOOKS ON BIRD-FINDING IN COLORADO
There are a number of great resources for planning your trip to Colorado. NOTE: Several of these books are officially out of print and may be showing very high prices - be sure to click on the item and look for the pricing on used copies--much less expensive.
- Birding Colorado is your starting point for planning your trip. It provides detailed birding information and maps to more than 180 of the most popular birding hotspots in Colorado.
- A Birder's Guide to Colorado is now out-of-print but used copies are available at a reasonable price. Part of the famous ABA/Lane guide series, this is nearly 400 pages of maps, tips, suggestions on finding the specialty birds, and much more.
- Also out-of-print, Birding: Rocky Mountain National Park is the most detailed and helpful guide to the birding wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park; used copies should be reasonably priced.
- Finally, the DeLorme Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer provides detailed coverage of the entire state and will help you find all those little county parks and state wildlife areas; great for pre-trip planning. Make sure you are getting a relatively newer edition; older versions often show much lower prices.
Once you find your birds, you'll want to identify them! Here are our favorite field guides for Colorado
- American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Colorado by Ted Floyd focuses just on the species generally found in Colorado. You'll enjoy Ted's slightly irreverent take on the roughly 500 birds found here. Great for the beginning to intermediate level birder.
- Sibley Birds West is the updated second edition of this classic field guide and is perfect for Colorado.
- Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion is just that--a companion to your regular field guide. Covers all the species found in North America and is full of all those little details that will help you on every birding trip. For those of you who like to use a birding app on your phone, just get the Kindle edition and you'll have this great reference book with you at all times.
- National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America is our personal favorite field guide and is a new edition as of 2017.
Everyone carries their own selection of gear and accessories. Here's what we use:
- When we lead groups, it's often helpful to familiarize ourselves with a particular bird song or call. The JBL Clip 2 speaker connects to our cell phone birding app and lets everyone hear easily. We clip it right on our belt and it's so light, you forget it's there. The battery life is great and the speaker is waterproof. We also use it to stream music from our phone in our hotel room while on overnight tours. Be sure to review the ethics of using recordings in the field.
- Many birders like to take quick notes in the field and these Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks are perfect. The main thing is the weatherproof paper that repels rain, water, and sweat. Perfect size for a shirt pocket.
- Add one of these Rite in the Rain all-weather pens and, yes, you can make your notes even in the rain. You can also use a #2 pencil with that notebook even if the paper is wet.
- All of my gear goes in my Osprey Daylite Plus pack. I had a specific set of criteria for a day pack including high quality construction and relatively inexpensive. In addition, I wanted a real open mesh back panel to keep my back from sweating. It turns out, a real mesh panel is hard to find for under $100. Finally, these are available in ten different colors. Of course, I chose the simple black...but that's just me!
- Many birders use the harness-type strap on their binoculars. This Rick Young Outdoors Ultra-Light Harness does the same thing but much better. You can use it as a harness, around-the-neck, or over-the-shoulder strap. It's fully adjustable and fantastically lightweight. You will look at this and think the thin cord will be uncomfortable but try it and you'll find out that's not true at all. Don't believe me? Check out this video! Comes in various colors (of course, I got black again!)
- As a former Boy Scout, I like to feel prepared so I carry this Leatherman Juice Multi-tool. Leatherman makes a ton of different models but I found this is the smallest one (not much bigger than a pocketknife) that still has a real set of pliers--plus a corkscrew!
- It's hard to believe how much better flashlights are compared to when I was a kid but again, the choices are almost overwhelming. I found this Feit 1000 Lumens LED at a local hardware store and it's fantastic for the price. Amazingly bright and the width of the beam zooms larger and smaller. It's perfect for scanning the trees at night for eye-shine from an owl and then zooming in for a more concentrated look.
- Since moving to Colorado, I've been more aware of how strong the sun can be at higher altitudes. I've tried a lot of hats and think I've finally found my keeper--the Stetson Airway is sturdy, lightweight, and natural straw with the all-important chin-cord. It's not the cheapest sun hat around but it's nice to wear something that makes you feel good!
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