Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version


Document Type



"Book Reviews," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1987) 55(4).


Copyright 1987, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


A Field Guide to Hawks of North America, William S. Clark. Illustrations by Brian K. Wheeler. 1987. Number 35 in The Peterson Field Guide Series. edited by Roger Tory Peterson. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. xii + 198 pp., 24 color plates. 2 black-and-white plates, 241 photographs. 6 figures. 32 maps. ISB N 0- 395-36001 - 3 (hardcover) $19.95, ISBN 0-395-44112-9 (softcover) $13.95.

The softcover is a mere 4.5 x 7.25 inches, and less than 0.75 inches thick, but the wealth of information concerning the field identification of diurnal raptors is enormous. William S. Clark, from Arlington, VA, (not William H. Clark as stated on the inside of the front cover) is the former director of the Raptor Information Center of the National Wildlife Federation. Brian K. Wheeler, from Longmont, Colorado, is an accomplished painter of birds and other wildlife and his work has appeared in Birding and American Birds.

"The purpose of this field guide is to present the latest in tried and proven field marks and behavioral characteristics by which 33 regular and six accidental N. American diurnal raptors may accurately be identified. These field marks and characteristics should enable anyone, with a little practice, to accurately identify most flying and perched diurnal raptors when they are seen clearly." This paragraph is from page one of the book and I believe that the goal has been accomplished. This hawk guide has an exquisite cover painting of an American Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon that led me inside with hopes of illustration of the 70+ species of falconiforms in North America. I was quick to discover that “North America” once again means “North America north of Mexico" and that 39 species are discussed. No matter, getting all the details for these species crammed into such a small book would be work enough. Wheeler did a superb job in that the plates do well to illustrate the description in the text.