Roger Tory Peterson

Unit 1: Getting our bearings. Length: 3-4 days (not necessarily in a row).

Roger Tory Peterson, Field Guide to BirdsOne of the best entrées into the living world around us is watching birds. Birds are so very much alive, and their presence is a vital part of the character of any habitat. Our birdwatching guide this year is Roger Tory Peterson, who has done more to encourage awareness and understanding of birds than anyone else in modern times. Thumb through the Peterson field guide to birds and take it with you on a walk. Keep it handy near your best bird-watching window. Get to know it by using it. Just dive in and explore.

Note that there’s a “Life List” near the back to keep a record of the birds you see.

At some point, watch 6 brief videos that will help you appreciate the Peterson field guide. Start with these two biographical videos about Peterson, available on YouTube or iTunes, entitled “Foremost Naturalist” (10 mins) and “Almost like resurrection” (11 mins).

On a tutorials page, Houghton Mifflin offers four brief videos to introduce the Peterson field guide. Each video is less than 10 mins. Watch the videos for “How to Identify Birds,” bird “Topography,” “Songs and Sounds,” and “Range Maps.” Download these into iTunes if you wish, or just watch them on YouTube. After watching these videos, you’ll be much more efficient in using the field guide.

Discuss ways you might use the Field Guide in your nature journal. If you like, brainstorm some ideas in the comments to this post, or come to class next time prepared to share a few of your ideas.


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