Why? Because today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the man who invented the field guide -- Roger Tory Peterson.
Today also happens to be the official pub date of the new one-volume Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, which we reviewed in our October 2008 issue.
To celebrate both, the anniversary and the field guide, we chatted recently with Lee Allen Peterson, the younger of Roger's two sons and a Peterson-guide author himself. His answers to our questions are below.
Lee Peterson: Yes, he thought about doing a combined guide, but for one reason or another, he never did. He would have been very pleased with the sixth edition.
BW: What makes a good field guide?
LP: A good field guide needs to be both comprehensive and concise. And it needs to be portable. This is a balancing act because these goals are somewhat opposite. The degree to which any guide achieves this balance is a measure of its success. Over the years, Dad's books have done this more successfully than the others.