I recently rec'd a copy of "The Crossley ID Guide (Eastern Birds)" from the people at Princeton Press. This is no field guide. Coming it at 529, nearly-letter-sized pages, one definitely needs a table to support the weight of this massive tome. The book is well made, with high-quality, satin-finished pages, secure binding and a flexible cover. All images are in full color.
The opening pages include a preface by the author, world-renowned birder, Richard Crossley, and a relative sizing scale of the birds included in the book, with each bird's banding code and page number shown beneath it. The introduction includes comprehensive information on how to use the book, how to be a better birder and a bird topography guide (if you've never even heard of a bird's "culmen," "patagium" or "cere," this book will show you quite clearly what they are.)
The major species division in the Crossley ID Guide is between "Waterbirds" and "Landbirds," with appropriate subheadings narrowing down different types of birds (i.e.; under "Landbirds" are Upland Gamebirds, Raptors, Songbirds, etc.) The individual bird listings include a range map, some standard information on behavior, size, etc. and aids for identification. Along side each bird's common name are their scientific name and their banding code.
Perhaps most importantly (or at least, the feature that I most appreciate,) each page includes a color plate showing the bird in its typical habitat in a wide variety of forms--males, females and juveniles--and at a varying range of distances and poses--from up close and personal to flying across the distance. In some cases, birds are also shown from different angles, as opposed to the traditional side view shown in most bird guides. The images are compiled from numerous photos, which I also prefer to the "usual" hand-made illustrations.
The book closes with acknowledgments (including photo credits,) and indexes of the birds by either their banding code, scientific name or common name. The inside back cover includes a larger map of North America and a key to the range maps included in the bird listings.
All in all, this is a beautiful, informative and well-made book, available for a good price. It would make a great addition to any naturalist's collection.