Heavy on nest box information, lacking on habitats
As an avid birder who's now getting into creating bird habitat in our own yard, I was excited to read Bill Thompson's [b:Bird Homes and Habitats|13202047|Bird Homes and Habitats|Bill Thompson III|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358995651s/13202047.jpg|18384993]. I was most interested in learning how to design and create a yard that attracts birds of all kinds, not just those that seek out nest boxes. With a blurb that claims the book will cover "plenty of...things that can attract birds to a landscape," I thought that the pages would be filled with the information I was seeking. Unfortunately, they were not.
Though this is a solid and easily-read guide about bird homes and habitats, it is focused primarily on nesting structures, not bird habitats in general. When a reference comes up in an early chapter about what plants to add to your bird-friendly landscape, I got excited because that's what I wanted to learn about most. However, right after that statement, the reader quickly learns that he or she must buy different books in the author's series in order to obtain that information. Most curiously, those books don't even have titles to suggest that they would be about habitat or plantings ([b:Identifying and Feeding Birds|8746807|Identifying and Feeding Birds|Bill Thompson III|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348195359s/8746807.jpg|13619973] and [b:Hummingbirds and Butterflies|10180370|Hummingbirds and Butterflies|Bill Thompson III|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348197921s/10180370.jpg|15079332]). Only the first 20 pages of the book cover habitat needs in general, and then the book moves on to focus on nesting specifically.
When the book does focus on nesting, it does a comprehensive job of providing species profiles with details about nesting habits and nest structure needs. One unique feature of this guide is the section that highlights "Birdy Backyard All-Stars" -- people who have created fantastic habitats on their own properties. Each profile is from a different part of the U.S., so readers can choose the locale most like their home and then read about how those in their area have created appealing avian habitats.
Even so, this wasn't what I wanted or needed. The majority of the birds that come through my suburban yard are not going to nest there; they're going to seek temporary food, water, and shelter. If I can get a migrating warbler to eat some bird-friendly berries and take a dip in a specially-designed water feature, I would be ecstatic. Sadly, I finished this book no more knowledgeable about how to create that type of bird habitat in my yard than I was before.
Recommended to those who are novice-to-amateur birdwatchers/nest box creators and/or those who want a guide that provides a general overview of many species' nest structure needs.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.