Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 15, No. 1, 2005. Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Several authoritative checklists of Texas birds have been published since the first one in 1912. As is typical of most checklists, all appeared in the conventional narrative format--a tradition for checklists that seems impossible to give up, even though range maps have long been used effectively in bird books. Now, with the publication of Lockwood and Freeman's Texas Ornithological Society volume, we have at last a Texas checklist that allows us the convenience of referring to shaded distribution maps.
Maybe narratives are more "scientific" than maps. But are they really? Listing the counties that border the range of a species tells us no more about true distribution than a shaded map based on these geographical units. Furthermore, most of us construct a mental map from the narrative anyway. Be that as it may, Lockwood and Brush's excellent checklist accommodates both camps, providing maps and narrative range descriptions. On only two points could there be any disagreement: the name of the book and the inclusion of photographs.