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Nature Birdwatching Guides

Waterfowl of Eastern North America

by (author) Chris G. Earley

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
May 2020
Birdwatching Guides
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


This is an attractive handbook for novice birders, new hunters, and others wanting to name waterfowl. Summing Up: Recommended. --Choice

The eastern Continental Divide from Florida to Ontario contains the world's largest network of freshwater lakes, rivers, wetlands and coastal waters. It is home to an astonishingly large variety of ducks, geese and other waterfowl although many of them may be sighted both to the west or to the south at times in the year.

Illustrated with over 400 photographs of waterfowl in their natural environment, this essential field guide illustrates the rich diversity among these birds. It is designed specifically to help birders identify ducks, geese and shorebirds and become familiar with the features and colors to look for upon sighting a bird. Species information is concisely organized and includes the differences between male and female, seasonal and immature plumage, morphs and distinctive markings.

Waterfowl of Eastern North America covers ducks, geese, loons, pelicans, swans, grebes, coots, cormorants, and moorhens. The sections are:

  • Classification A list of the birds in the book, how they are classified, notes similar shapes and behaviors of the dabblers; the divers; the mergansers; and the loons and grebes.
  • Identification Annotated photographs show notable physical features used to aid identification.
  • Waterfowl Look-alikes: Comparative photographs of Gulls, Phalaropes, Aquatic Seabirds, and Rails.
  • Table of Seasonal Status of Waterfowl in Point Pelee National Park One of North America's most important migration stopovers this is an outstanding place to see and identify waterfowl.
  • Bird Profiles Double-page spreads of essential information and descriptions to aid in identification.
  • Features Comparisons Photographs of 33 species that are frequently misidentified and what to look for.
  • Flight Comparisons Photographs of Dabblers, Geese and Swans, and Divers in flight.

Finally, Chris Earley shares how readers can help waterfowl wherever they live, from a simple nesting box to bird counts. Birders and naturalists who want to support conservation groups that protect waterfowl and their quickly disappearing habitats will want to add this book to their library.

About the author

Chris G Earley is the interpretive biologist and education coordinator at the Arboretum, University of Guelph He is also the author of numerous titles on birds and the natural world, including How to Feed Backyard Birds, 125 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario, Hawks and Owls of Eastern North America and Waterfowl of Eastern North America

Chris G. Earley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This book is meant for all birders, be they novices or experts... A nice feature is that each species receives one or two two-page spreads. The spreads feature a paragraph focusing on something special about the species, and several photos (of generally excellent quality) that attempt to cover all the different plumages.

Canadian Field-Naturalist Journal

[Review of earlier edtion:] Each species enjoys a step-by-step profile to facilitate precise identification, while brilliant color photographs reveal birds in their natural habitat.


[Review of earlier edtion:] For each species the format is two full-color pages with excellent photographs, notes on distinctive features, and range maps... This is an attractive handbook for novice birders, new hunters, and others wanting to name waterfowl. Summing Up: Recommended.


Excellent photos of ducks, geese, swans, eiders, mergansers, grebes, loons, coot, gallinules, cormorants, and pelicans. Text is short and sweet, as are descriptive notes for seasonal plumage and distinctive markings. There are range maps, classifications, groups, look-alikes, and species status... A handsome, well-made book... This is the first bird ID book I've seen with maps using colors truly easily distinguished by people with color-perception deficiencies. Congratulations to Firefly! Other guide publishers please take note.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

This new version, designed both for beginners and experienced birders, is suddenly a must-see-and-have for anyone interested in the 40 species of geese, swans and ducks expected in eastern Canada and the U.S... The new edition is graced with dozens of new images that provide readers with a higher quality display of plumages.

OFO News

[Review of earlier edtion:] A very useful field guide and birding primer... In fact, since many waterfowl are common to both coasts, this guide is useful for west coast observation as well... excellent color photographs showing the bird swimming and flying.

Wave Length Magazine

Chris Earley's book Waterfowl of Eastern North America is an excellent resource.

[Review of earlier edtion:] A must-have book if you love watching our feathered friends. While the 400 magnificent color photographs will catch your eye, it's the anecdotes that keep even non-birders flocking back for more.

Good Times

[Review of earlier edtion:] Filled with incredibly vibrant photographs of wildfowl in their natural habitat. Each bird and gender is described.

Ontario Sailor

[Review of earlier edtion:] A beautiful photographic guide to ducks and other waterfowl found in the eastern U.S... A handy section in the back provides photos of similar waterfowl species for comparison.

Wildlife Activist

[Review of earlier edtion:] An excellent field guide... illustrated with excellent photographs of both male and females... useful comparison photographs complete the guide.

Ibis [British Ornithologists' Union]

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