Illustrations from bird guides: 1961-1990

This post presents 7 illustrations from 6 books that are designed to guide readers in the identification of bird species.

None of the images below have appeared previously in this blog. They are presented in chronological order.

Artist Gene M. Christman created this image for the 1961 edition of Brown and Weston’s Handbook of California Birds:

01 Gene Christman - Brown & Weston 1961

Next is a portion of Arthur Singer’s illustration for Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification:

02 Arthur Singer - Robbins et al 1966

Jerry Buzzell created the next 2 illustrations, both for the 1986 edition of Brown and Weston’s handbook. This is the species-identification illustration:
04 Jerry Buzzell - Brown et al 1986 a

And this is Buzzell’s drawing for the handbook’s title page:

05 Jerry Buzzell - Brown et al 1986 b

The dedication to Talons: North American Birds of Prey includes an illustration by Millie Miller:

06 Millie Miller - Miller & Nelson 1989

Scott Weidensaul created this illustration for his North American Birds of Prey:

07 Weidensaul 1989

Finally, the 1990 edition of Roger Tory Peterson’s A Field Guide to Western Birds includes an information-rich illustration by the author:

08 Roger Tory Peterson - Peterson 1990

The illustrations above demonstrate the increasing sophistication of guide-book illustrations over time. More recent guides offer greater detail. The more-recent  illustrations also show adult and immature birds, birds in multiple postures, and even elements of habitat and behavior.

A previous post shows illustrations from older field guides and considers their condor-related content: Field guides: 1904-1950.


Brown, Vinson, and Henry G Weston Jr. Handbook of California birds. Naturegraph. 1961.

Robbins, Chandler S, Bertel Bruun, and Herbert S Zim. Birds of North America: a guide to field identification. Golden. 1966.

Brown, Vinson, Henry Weston Jr, and Jerry Buzzell. Handbook of California birds. Naturegraph. 1986.

Miller, Millie, and Cyndi Nelson. Talons: North American birds of prey. Johnson, 1989.

Weidensaul, Scott. North American birds of prey. W. H. Smith. 1989.

Peterson, Roger Tory. A field guide to western birds. 3rd edition. Houghton Mifflin. 1990.