This is the perfect guide book for birding in Puerto Rico. The photographs, 1340 in all, are brilliant, and the text is detailed and rich in information. The guide itself will easily fit into a pocket or day pack and so when out in the field you will have it at your fingertips.
What's unique about this guide is the excellent CD-Rom that comes with it -- this will help you before you go to know what the birds look like, their calls, their behavior and where you can find them once in Puerto Rico. I used the CD-Rom to check out three of my favorite PR birds and was amazed at the numerous and gorgeous pictures, the superb quality of the audio recordings and the information Oberle has reproduced in this book. For instance, regarding the Puerto Rican Tody (one of the 17 PR endemics covered in this guide as well as over 320 other birds), there were a dozen different pictures of the Tody including fabulous close-ups. The information Oberle gives includes identification, voice with audio, habitat, habits, range, status and conservation, taxonomy and related books and articles about the Tody. The Tody is a tiny forest bird with emerald green upperparts and a bright red bill and throat -- everytime I see one I think of a Christmas tree ornament, they are so cute! Oberle discusses in detail what they eat: katydids, grasshoppers, earwings and dragonflies, and discusses as well their foraging techniques. Because Oberle goes into such great detail about ID and habitat/habits, I think this is the best guide to enable one to actually find the birds once in PR.
I also checked out the PR Woodpecker and found those pictures, audio and habitat/habits information just as extensive as that about the Tody. I learned that the woodpecker's stiff tail feathers helps it to gain balance while chiseling at tree bark to find its favorite insects, including earwings, beetle larvae and ants. I discovered it occasionally eats scorpions and and lizards! Oberle informs the reader that a good place to find the woodpecker is around the parking lot of the El Portal visitor Center at the El Yungue national park.
A third bird that is well covered in both the CD and guide is the Pin-tailed Whydah, which has a most remarkable long tail and perches on wires and branches. I was surprised to learn that the female is like our parasitic cowbird and doesn't build her own nest but drops her eggs in other birds' nests.
Oberle has done a splendid job of bringing together in a compact book all the information and photgraphs of birds that you will need when out in the field. Because he cares so much about these birds and the environment, he also has special sections at the begining of the book on conservation efforts, migratory birds that winter in PR, and the extinction issues that face too many birds and other wildlife today in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
To anyone going to Puerto Rico who plans to do some birding, I heartily recommend this book and CD-Rom to you.