Cover image for The birds of Pennsylvania
The birds of Pennsylvania
McWilliams, Gerald M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xiv, 479 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL684.P4 M36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From Eared Grebes, Tundra Swans, and Peregrine Falcons to Lesser Yellowlegs, and Snowy Owls, Pennsylvania is home to a magnificent array of birds. In the first comprehensive summary and analysis in over a century of the birds of that state, Gerald M. McWilliams and Daniel W. Brauning provide a wealth of information for both the professional ornithologist and the amateur birder. This book treats all 428 species seen in the state, including breeding and wintering birds, migrants, and vagrants. Each entry provides the general status of a species; the locations where it is most commonly found; its natural habitat, migratory patterns, breeding habits, and seasonal status and distribution; and a summary of the bird's history in Pennsylvania. With clear descriptions of physiographic regions as well as 44 breeding distribution maps for the most commonly seen birds and 67 photographs of many rare and hard-to-find species, this volume is an indispensable resource about Pennsylvania's bird life.

Author Notes

Daniel W. Brauning is an ornithologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Here for the first time since 1964 is an excellent, comprehensive monograph on the birds of Pennsylvania by two of that state's top ornithologists. For each of 429 species there is a detailed summation of its status, distribution, and abundance through the seasons. There are sections on general and seasonal status, breeding, and history and a complete and very useful list of references. The high-quality photographs are of rarer species. Maps show the breeding distribution of commoner birds based on annual surveys of 122 routes from 1985 to 1994. Too bad similar use was not made of Christmas bird counts to show the winter situation, although this is well described in the text. Short introductory sections detail Pennsylvania's physiography and explain the book's sensible, very effective layout. A first-rate compilation with good analysis and interpretation valuable for eastern libraries beyond the Pennsylvania region; highly recommended.--Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

McWilliams and Brauning are highly experienced birders, and their exhaustively researched and detailed reference on the distribution and seasonal occurrence of the 429 species of birds known to occur in Pennsylvania was ten years in the making. It is the first book of such magnitude on the subject in more than a century. The 25-page introduction includes the historical aspects of ornithology in Pennsylvania; a good description of the physiographic regions of the state, as well as the birding sites from which most of the field data was gathered over the years; and a complete explanation of the format used in the species accounts. These accounts give the general status of the bird, its habitat, seasonal status and distribution, and the history of the species in Pennsylvania. References follow each account. There are 44 maps of distribution, and 67 black-and-white photographs. All public libraries in Pennsylvania and its neighboring states should make this book available to birders; colleges and universities of the northeastern states should also acquire it. It will be most useful for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty. H. N. Cunningham Jr.; Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College

Table of Contents

List of Mapsp. vii
List of Photographsp. vii
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Part I. Introduction
Historical Perspectives on Bird Populations and Habitatsp. 1
Seasonal Calendar of Bird Lifep. 5
Physiographic Regionsp. 8
Bird Sitesp. 16
Overview and Format of the Species Accountsp. 18
Journal Referencesp. 21
Background on Breeding Information Sourcesp. 21
Abundance and Frequency Categoriesp. 23
Documentation of Bird Sightingsp. 23
Abbreviationsp. 24
Part II. Species Accounts
Order Gaviiformesp. 25
Family Gaviidae: Loonsp. 25
Order Podicipediformesp. 28
Family Podicipedidae: Grebesp. 28
Order Procellariiformesp. 33
Family Procellariidae: Shearwaters and Petrelsp. 33
Family Hydrobatidae: Storm-Petrelsp. 35
Order Pelecaniformesp. 37
Family Phaethontidae: Tropicbirdsp. 37
Family Sulidae: Gannetsp. 37
Family Pelecanidae: Pelicansp. 38
Family Phalacrocoracidae: Cormorantsp. 40
Family Anhingidae: Dartersp. 43
Family Fregatidae: Frigatebirdsp. 44
Order Ciconiiformesp. 44
Family Ardeidae: Bitterns and Heronsp. 44
Family Threskiornithidae: lbises and Spoonbillsp. 58
Family Ciconiidae: Storksp. 61
Family Cathartidae: American Vulturesp. 62
Order Phoenicopteriformesp. 65
Family Phoenicopteridae: Flamingosp. 65
Order Anseriformesp. 65
Family Anatidae: Geese, Swans, and Ducksp. 65
Order Falconiformesp. 111
Family Accipitridae: Ospreys, Kites, Eagles, Harriers, and Hawksp. 111
Family Falconidae: Falconsp. 128
Order Galliformesp. 133
Family Phasianidae: Pheasants, Grouse, and Turkeysp. 133
Family Odontophoridae: New World Quailp. 136
Order Gruiformesp. 137
Family Rallidae: Rails, Gallinules, and Cootsp. 137
Family Gruidae: Cranesp. 146
Order Charadriiformesp. 148
Family Charadriidae: Ploversp. 148
Family Haematopodidae: Oystercatchersp. 154
Family Recurvirostridae: Stilts and Avocetsp. 155
Family Scolopacidae: Sandpipers and Phalaropesp. 157
Family Laridae: Jaegers, Gulls, and Ternsp. 190
Family Alcidae: Auks, Murres, and Puffinsp. 221
Order Columbiformesp. 224
Family Columbidae: Pigeons and Dovesp. 224
Order Psittaciformesp. 228
Family Psittacidae: Parrotsp. 228
Order Cuculiformesp. 228
Family Cuculidae: Cuckoosp. 228
Order Strigiformesp. 230
Family Tytonidae: Barn Owlsp. 230
Family Strigidae: Typical Owlsp. 231
Order Caprimulgiformesp. 241
Family Caprimulgidae: Goatsuckersp. 241
Order Apodiformesp. 244
Family Apodidae: Swiftsp. 244
Family Trochilidae: Hummingbirdsp. 246
Order Coraciiformesp. 248
Family Alcedinidae: Kingfishersp. 248
Order Piciformesp. 250
Family Picidae: Woodpeckersp. 250
Order Passeriformesp. 259
Family Tyrannidae: Flycatchersp. 259
Family Laniidae: Shrikesp. 278
Family Vireonidae: Vireosp. 281
Family Corvidae: Jays and Crowsp. 287
Family Alaudidae: Larksp. 295
Family Hirundinidae: Swallowsp. 296
Family Paridae: Chickadees and Titmicep. 304
Family Sittidae: Nuthatchesp. 308
Family Certhiidae: Creepersp. 311
Family Troglodytidae: Wrensp. 312
Family Regulidae: Kingletsp. 321
Family Sylviidae: Gnatcatchersp. 323
Family Turdidae: Thrushesp. 325
Family Mimidae: Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Alliesp. 338
Family Sturnidae: Starlingsp. 342
Family Motacillidae: Pipitsp. 343
Family Bombycillidae: Waxwingsp. 345
Family Parulidae: Wood-Warblersp. 348
Family Thraupidae: Tanagersp. 390
Family Emberizidae: New World Sparrowsp. 393
Family Cardinalidae: Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings, and Dickcisselsp. 423
Family Icteridae: Blackbirds and Oriolesp. 431
Family Fringillidae: Finchesp. 448
Family Passeridae: Old World Sparrowsp. 461
Literature Citedp. 463
Index of English Namesp. 469
Index of Scientific Namesp. 474
About the Authorsp. 479