The quiz below shows four photographs of the leafy crowns of trees, as you might see them while looking for birds through binoculars or telescopes. Differences in leaf “posture”, arrangement, and color are just as obvious as differences in leaf shape, and all of these species are readily distinguishable at a glance, even in silhouette. […]
I’ve been neglecting trees in my posts recently, but here in Massachusetts spring is the best time of year for tree-watching, and today the sun was out offering some good photo opportunities.
One of my main goals in creating the Sibley Guide to Trees was to apply modern methods of bird study to tree identification. This meant looking at trees at a distance and trying to figure out what, if any, differences would allow me to distinguish species quickly and reliably in just a glance. I continue […]
Spring is always an exciting time for birdwatchers, as migrants pass through and summer residents return, all in their flashy breeding plumage. This time of year is equally interesting for tree-watching, and it is the best time of year for identifying trees from a distance by their color.
In The Sibley Guide to Trees I refer to some species of trees as having leaves (or needles) two-ranked, and several readers have asked me to clarify the meaning of the term. In the introduction of the guide on p. xxix the term is mentioned and illustrated with one example: American Elm has leaves two-ranked, […]
Thanks to an email from Ray Telfair I’ve taken a closer look at the illustrations and descriptions of hickory nuts on pages 143 to 149 in the Guide to Trees. I used the terms “angled” and “ribbed” interchangeably, and illustrations such as Pignut Hickory p 145 appear “angled”, which is confusing and incorrect, so I’ll try to […]
Watching the changing colors of fall leaves is always interesting, and even more so when you recognize the species of trees and begin to understand some of the finer points of variation in color. In these four photographs of Red Maple, all taken within a few days in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, I’ll describe a […]
In fall it is the bright red and yellow colors of the broadleaf trees that get all the attention from “leaf-peepers”. Much more subtle and largely unnoticed are the changing colors of the conifers. Even though pines and cypresses are evergreen, they still drop some of their leaves each fall. This twig of Eastern White […]
Here are page-by-page corrections and changes for The Sibley Guide to Trees. This listing will be updated periodically as issues come to my attention. Please feel free to leave comments or send me an email if you notice anything that is not listed here. inside front cover – The two-letter abbreviation for Nunavut should be […]
In the past, tree identification guides have emphasized the presence of opposite leaves as one of the most important field marks. In the Sibley Guide to Trees I used a more holistic approach, like modern bird identification, giving equal weight to all parts of the tree. A tree might catch your attention because of its […]