The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan – REVIEW

2 out of 5 stars

The Birds of Washtenaw County book cover - photos of four types of birds on cover, Cedar Waxwing, Sandhill Crane, Blue bird, and possibly a gold finch

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alternating line of short green 6-hole birdhouse, short blue & red 1-hole birdhouse with a star, and tall 3-hole yellow birdhouse with heart
© Graphic Garden


The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan provides a comprehensive account of the birdlife in Washtenaw County. Situated to the west of Detroit in southeast Michigan, the county has an exceptionally rich history of ornithological study, fueled by the activists of numerous amateur birdwatchers and by the interests of two major universities.

Frequency accounts of the 267 species recorded in the county during the last 15 years are framed by a discussion of the topographical history of the county. In addition, the authors present notes on another 30 species not seen in the county since 1976. A comprehensive site guide offers suggestions of the optimal locals and times to try to find the birds.

Michael A. Kielb has studied birds in Michigan for over 15 years and teaches classes on birds at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor and the College of Du Page in Illinois. He also leads bird-watching tours throughout the Americas and is currently a Research Associate in the Reproductive Sciences Program at the University of Michigan.

John M. Swales first became interested in birds while teaching in the Sudan and has been exploring the birdlife of Washtenaw County since arriving at the University of Michigan in 1985. He is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the English Language Institute, University of Michigan.

Richard A. Wolinski has been studying birds of Washtenaw County for nearly two decades. He is a staff biologist with an engineering firm in southeast Michigan.

line of 5 birds' nests with 5 eggs inside each
© Graphic Garden


I wanted to find The Birds of Washtenaw County by Michael Kield, John Swales, & Richard Wolinski useful. I wanted to like it. After all, this is my home county and I thought this might be a good resource to take with me to the park. Unfortunately, it’s not.

The information in this book is good, factual without being boring. The problem lies in the fact that there are very few illustrations in this book and the ones that are there are in black and white. This makes it very difficult to use this as an “in the field” guidebook.

Unless you just need information on birds you’ve already seen or only need information for informational purposes, this book is not for you. It’s not much help in identifying species since there are very few illustrations.