This is the perfect guidebook for any hummingbird enthusiast in the western United States. It begins with basic hummingbird information on physical characteristics, feeding habits, territory, behavior, vocalizations, life cycle, and migration. The book then goes into specific profiles of the 18 species found in this region: Green Violet-ear, Broad-billed, White-eared, Berylline, Buff-bellied, Violet-crowned, Blue-throated, Magnificent, Plain-capped, Lucifer, Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, Anna's, Costa's, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Allen's. Each profile includes the common name, Latin name, Spanish name, and information on the bird's range, physical appearance and coloration, behavior, call sounds, habitat, diet and feeding habits, courtship and nesting, and the origin of the species' name. For most species there are pictures of both the male and female, though a few picture only the male. The pictures are large, clear, and very beautiful. There are also brief descriptions of three species not native to the American west, but which have been spotted here on rare occasions: the Green-breasted Mango, the Xantus's Hummingbird, and the Cinnamon Hummingbird.
The latter part of the book is devoted to tips on gardening to attract hummingbirds. There is an explanation of hummingbirds and pollinators, information on the needs of hummingbirds (for shelter, nesting, and climate, as well as food), and a list of flowering plants that hummingbirds favor. They are most attracted to flowers that are red, pink, or orange in color. The book gives both the common and scientific name of each plant suggested, as well as it's native habitat and the elevations at which it grows best. Several of the plants are pictured as well. At the end of the book there is a brief section on hummingbird feeders, detailing the most effective varieties, and simple guidelines on sugar-water mixtures and ways to deter bees and ants. The entire book is well-written and provides all the vital information for identifying the hummingbirds in your area. It is also thin and lightweight, making it easily portable if you wish to carry it along on bird-watching excursions. I would highly recommend it to any lover of hummingbirds in the western US.