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Northwest Natural History Resources

Looking for good sources of information about local natural history? Below are some of our favorite reads and resources. Let us know about yours! Email us with your suggestions.

Insects

Bugs of Washington and Oregon, John Acorn, Lone Pine Publishing, 2001. “This book is for bugsters” says the author. This book features conversational text and colored illustrations of 125 common bugs. Less technical, but includes some interesting lore and history.

The Butterflies of Cascadia, Robert Michael Pyle, Seattle Audobon Society, 2002. Very thorough book by a man who has been studying butterflies since childhood.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon, by Cary Kerst and Steve Gordon, Oregon State University Press, 2011. A wonderful book by local naturalists. Includes lots of great photographs.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Willamette Valley, by Cary Kerst and Steve Gordon, Cranedance Publications, 2005. An older book with lots of photographs by the same pair of local naturalists that wrote Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon.  

Guide to the Butterflies of Oregon and Washington, William Neill, Westcliffe Publishers, 2001. This Portland-based author covers 100 common butterflies in his guidebook. Includes photos.

Insects of the Pacific Northwest, Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard, Timber Press Inc., 2006. Organized by orders, nice photographs. Includes non-insect creepy-crawlies as well.

Birds

Birds from the Inside Out, Barbara and Dan Gleason, 2004. A great book written by local expert birders (who own Wild Birds Unlimited in Eugene) that covers everything from bird biology to behavior.

Birds of Lane County, Alan Contreras, 2006. Over 300 species of birds can be found during the year in Lane County. Find out where in this neat book!

Birds of the Willamette Valley Region, Harry Nehls, Tom Aversa, and Hal Opperman, 2004. This book includes basics about birds as well as photos of many of the birds you will see in our area.

Peterson Field Guides: Western Birding by Ear, Richard K. Walton and Robert W. Lawson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999. This three CD set covers 90 common birds found west of the great plains. Birds are grouped by similar vocalizations so you can learn “whistlers,” “sing-songers,” and more! (Lots of bird songs and calls are also available on the internet—just search for bird songs or bird calls.)

Plants

Oregon Wildlflowers app — Sponsored by the Oregon Flora Project (Oregonflora.org), this app is a free identification guide to over 1,050 wildflowers, shrubs and vines across the state (find wherever you get your apps). Has a key where you can use color, size, number of petals, habitat and lots of other criteria to help you identify Oregon wildflowers. Works without an internet connection once downloaded onto your mobile phone or tablet.

Oregon Wildflowers, Bevery Magley, 1992. A children’s guide to the most common flowers in Oregon. Illustrated in watercolors.

Trees to Know in Oregon, Ed Jenson, Oregon State University Extension Service, 2010. A full-color field guide to tree identification in Oregon. Contains keys to identifying common conifer and broadleaf trees.

Geology

Roadside Geology of Oregon, 2nd Edition, Marli B. Miller, Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2014. Anyone interesting in “reading” the land – understanding land forms, figuring out the origins of cool rocks, and discovering why our state has so many amazing places to visit – will love this book. Includes big picture information about geological events in our state as well as little details about places you know and love.

General

Brittle Stars and Mud Bugs, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Shorelines and Wetlands, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of the shorelines and wetlands of the northwest. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.

Cascade-Olympic Natural History: A Trailside Reference, 2nd Edition, Daniel Mathews, Raven, 1999. A nice catch-all field guide with some photographs for exploring the mountains. Covers basic plants, birds, mammals, mushrooms, and more.

Passionate Slugs and Hollywood Frogs, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Backyards, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of northwest backyards. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.

River-Walking Songbirds and Singing Coyotes, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Mountains, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of northwest mountains. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.