Going beyond the must-have The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, my favorite go-to guide is Birds of the Pacific Northwest by John Shewey.
I also really love these three additional guides, which give much needed detail for identifying sparrows, gulls, and all the songs you hear during dawn chorus:
Peterson Reference Guide to Sparrows of North America by Rick Wright
Gulls Simplified: A Comparative Approach to Identification by Pete Dunne and Kevin Karlson
Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America by Nathan Pieplow
Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates by David Moskowitz is an absolute must-have. It provides not only an excellent summary of the animals you’ll find here, but also information about tracks and sign so you gain additional insights into the lives of the wild things around you.
Of course, there are more species than a single guide could hope to include and still be portable. So my favorite additional guides include:
Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest by Lawrence L. C. Jones, William P. Leonard, and Deanna H. Olson
Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter Haggard
Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West by Dennis Paulson
Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson, and Sheila R. Colla
Trees and Plants
If you’re going to select just one field guide for the flora of the area, make it Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon. If one word sums up this book, it is “indispensable.”
That said, there are other amazing plant guides. My favorites are:
Trees to Know in Oregon by Edward C. Jensen
Shrubs to know in Pacific Northwest Forests by Edward C. Jensen
Northwest Trees: Identifying and Understanding the Region’s Native Trees by Stephen Arno (This is a little redundant if you have the other guides, but I love it because it’s so beautifully written.)
Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson
And for finding edible plants while on a wander, try Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts by Douglas Deur and Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora
Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest by J. Duane Sept
Pacific Seaweeds: Updated and Expanded Edition by Louis Druehl and Bridgette Clarkston
The rocky shores remind us of the amazing geological history (and future) of Oregon’s coastline, which leads me to another particularly interesting guide that any road-tripper will want to have riding shotgun: Roadside Geology of Oregon by Marli B. Miller (There are also Roadside Geology books for Washington and British Columbia.)
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This 24-page book details five easy-to-learn naturalist skills that will help you see what wildlife is in the area, predict behaviors for amazing action shots, and maximize your photographic opportunities every time you go outside! Also included are 5 exercises and 2 downloadable templates to use in the field. A few minutes a day building these skills will advance your photography from lucky snaps to highly crafted images.
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