This page will contain reviews of some of the many books that might be of interest to naturalists and others interested in the many varied ecosystems of Colorado's Front Range.
Please send any books that you believe will interest local naturalists with a short review to firstname.lastname@example.org. The books listed below are just a sample of those available. Hopefully this list will grow quickly!
(Cover pictures highlight books by BCNA authors.)
Benedict, Audrey. 2009. Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide: the Southern Rockies. University of Arizona Press. A comprehensive, insightful, and evocative guide to ecosystems and their plant and animal populations.
Mutel, Cornelia, and John Emerick. 1984. From Grassland to Glacier, the Natural History of Colorado. Johnson Books, Boulder. A straightforward and readable introduction to ecosystems of the Front Range and Colorado.
Gray, Mary Taylor. 2009. The Guide to Colorado Birds. Westcliffe Publishers, Denver.
Kingery, Hugh, ed. 1998. Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas. Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership, Denver. This 630-page hardback reference book includes distribution maps, nesting phenology charts, and detailed life histories of all of Colorado's nesting birds.
Orleans, Dick, and Scott Rashid. Voices from the Wild. Bird songs of Rocky Mountain National Park. (CD). 50 songs are clearly represented, with no human voiceover, so this is a great CD for those wanting to get started identifying birds by their songs.
Righter, Robert, and Geoffrey Keller. Bird Songs of the Rocky Mountain States and Provinces. (CD). Clearly recorded songs of all species that nest in the Rocky Mountains.
Sibley, David Allen. 2003. The Sibley Field guide to Birds of Western North America. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Among the more lightweight and clearly illustrated off the standard North American field guides.
Wheeler, Brian K. 2003. Raptors of Western North America: the Wheeler Guides. Contains striking photos and illustrations, along with detailed descriptions of field marks, ecology, and behavior.
Gelhorn, Joyce and Calvin Whitehall. 2007. White-Tailed Ptarmigan: Ghosts of the Alpine Tundra. Johnson Books. A month-by-month photographic essay of the ptarmigan.
Participants in the BCNA bird song field class. Dawn Chorus in the Colorado Rockies. CD. Includes recordings of songs of more than 50 breeding bird species from eight Boulder County ecosystems, from the plains to the alpine tundra. The CD contains no narration to disrupt the beauty of the natural sounds, but includes an 8-page "libretto" which identifies each song as it appears. Made with a Telinga Professional parabolic microphone, the recordings bring out the richness and complexity of the songs. $11. Available at Wild Bird Centers throughout the Denver-Boulder area.
Armstrong, David. 2009. Rocky Mountain Mammals: A Handbook of Mammals of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Vicinity. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. An informative and clearly written guide to mammals of the Front Range, from the foothills to the Alpine.
Fitzgerald, James, Carron Meaney, and David Armstrong. 1994. Mammals of Colorado, University Press of Colorado, Boulder. This complete guide to Colorado mammals includes photos, range maps, and comprehensive life histories for all documented species.
Brock, Jim, and Kenn Kaufman. 2003. Butterflies of North America. Species illustrations, descriptions, and range maps are all placed on fronting pages, making this guidebook very easy to use in the field.
Dunkle, Sydney. 2000. Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America. Oxford University Press. Includes photos and detailed field descriptions of all species documented in North America, and by extension, Boulder County.
Opler, Paul, and Amy Bartlett Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies, Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Very comprehensive, with illustrations, photos, range maps, and more detailed species descriptions.
Chu, Janet and Stephen R. Jones. 2011. Butterflies of the Colorado Front Range. Boulder County Nature Association, Boulder. A photographic guide to 80 apecies of butterflies found along the Colorado Front Range.
Beidleman, Linda, Richard Beidleman, and Beatrice Willard. 2000. Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain Nature Association and Falcon Publishing, Helena, Montana. Contains photos and descriptions of nearly 300 species found in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Johnson, James, and Gary Larson. 1999. Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains. South Dakota State University, Brookings. Though focused on a different part of the country, this is the best general guide we have found to grasses and wildflowers of eastern Colorado shortgrass and mixed-grass prairies.
Weber, William. 2001. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. This is the definitive guide to eastern slope flora, and the only one that includes comprehensive keys to all documented species.
Willard, Bettie E. and Michael T. Smithson. Alpine Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Estes Park, CO. A photographic pocket guide to alpine wildflowers.
Wingate, Janet L. 1994. Illustrated Key to the Grasses of Colorado. Wingate Consulting, Denver, CO. Combined with Johnson and Larson (above), this book will enable you to identify from photos or key out several dozen common grasses.
Cushman, Ruth Carol and Stephen R. Jones. 2004. Peterson Field Guides: The North American Prairie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A guide to the prairie preserves found in 18 states and Canada.
Jones, Stephen R. 2000. The Last Prairie: A Sandhills Journal. A description of Jones' travels throughout the Sandhills of Nebraska that blends science, natural history, ethnography and memoir.
Gellhorn, Joyce. 2002. Song of the Alpine. Johnson Books, Boulder, CO. A lyrical and fact-filled introduction to Boulder County's most celebrated ecosystem.
Andrews, Thomas. 2015. Coyote Valley: Deep History in the High Rockies. An environmental history of the Kawuneeche Valley on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Review from NatureNet