Best Field Guides

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« Ontario Field Naturalist's Toolchest
Here is a roundup of what I believe to be the best field guides for each area of nature where I could find clear winners.  Taken all together these books cover a good proportion of the biodiversity in our area.


  • Birds (Advanced Birders) Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, second edition
  • Birds (Beginner to Intermediate) Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, 6th edition
  • Birds (Signs) Bird Tracks and Signs
  • Birds (Phishing) The Art of Phishing: How to Attract Birds by Mimicking Their Calls
  • Birds (Nests) Peterson's Field Guides: Eastern Birds' Nest
  • Birds (Feathers) Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species
  • Birds (Warblers) The Warbler Guide

Bugs & Other Invertebrates

  • Bugs (In general) Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
  • Bugs (In general)
  • Bugs (Local) Bugs of Ontario
  • Bugs (Local) Insects of Algonquin Provincial Park
  • Bugs (Reference) Insects -- Their Natural History and Diversity
  • Bugs (Tracks and Signs) Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates
  • Butterflies ROM Field Guide to the Butterflies Of Ontario
  • Butterflies (Caterpillars) Caterpillars in the Field and Garden: A Field Guide to the Butterfly Caterpillars of North America
  • Moths Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America
  • Moths Moth Photographers Group
  • Moths (Caterpillars) Caterpillars of Eastern North America
  • Dragonflies & Damselflies Field Guide to The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area
  • Dragonflies Dragonflies of North America, Ed Lam (in the works)
  • Damselflies Damselflies of the Northeast
  • Beetles Peterson's A Field Guide to the Beetles
  • Beetles Beetles of Eastern North America
  • Tiger Beetles A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada
  • Lady Beetles Lady Beetles of Ontario
  • Fireflies Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs
  • Fireflies Fireflies of Ontario
  • Bumble Bees The Bumble Bees of Algonquin Provincial Park: A Field Guide
  • Bumble Bees Bumble Bees of North America
  • Bees Common Bees of Eastern North America
  • Ants Ants of North America
  • Ants A Field Guide to the Ants of New England
  • Wasps Wasps: Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants
  • Flies Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera
  • Flower Flies Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America
  • Bee Flies The Bee Flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae) of Ontario, with a Key to the Species of Eastern Canada
  • Deer Flies Tabanidae of Canada, east of the Rocky Mountains
  • Homoptera Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States
  • Homoptera Singing Insects Of North America
  • Scorpionflies Mecoptera of Ontario
  • Spiders Spiders of the North Woods, 2nd Edition
  • Spiders Common Spiders of North America
  • Crayfish Species of Ontario Crayfish
  • Invertebrates Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America
  • Invertebrates Field Guide to Fresthwater Invertebrates of North America
  • Invertebrates The Atlas of Common Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Eastern North America
  • Mollusks The Freshwater Mollusks of Canada
  • Mussels Photo Field Guide to the Freshwater Mussels of Ontario
  • Earthworms Earthworms of the Great Lakes


  • Mammals (Tracks) Mammal Track and Signs
  • Mammals Mammals of North America, a Kaufman Focus Guide
  • Mammals Mammals of Ontario
  • Bats Photo Field Guide to Bats of Ontario or Bats of Ontario
  • Bats Stokes Beginners Guide to Bats
  • Tracks Scats and Tracks of the Great Lakes
  • Tracks Animal Tracks (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
  • Herpetofauna Photo Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Ontario
  • Herpetofauna ROM Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Ontario
  • Herpetofauna Signs Tracks & Signs of Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Amphibian Immatures+ Metamorphosis: Ontario's Amphibians at all Stages of Development
  • Reptiles Reptiles of Ontario
  • Fishes The ROM Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Ontario


  • In general Minnesota/Wisconsin or Michigan Flora
  • Trees Trees In Canada
  • Shrubs Shrubs of Ontario
  • Wildflowers Newcomb's Wildflower Guide
  • Wildflowers Peterson's A Field Guide to Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers (Simple) Ontario Wildflowers: 101 Wayside Flowers
  • Wildflowers (Hard to ID Groups) The Asters, Goldenrods, and Fleabanes of Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Ferns The Ferns of Grey & Bruce Counties
  • Ferns with Fern Allies Ferns Horsetails & Clubmosses of the North Woods
  • Ferns with Fern Allies Peterson Field Guide to Ferns, Second edition
  • Grasses Grasses: An Identification Guide
  • Grasses How to Identify Grasses and Grass-like Plants
  • Sedges Sedges of the Northern Forest
  • Sedges Sedges and Rushes of Minnesota
  • Mosses Mosses of the Northern Forest
  • Liverworts An Enthusiasts Guide to the Liverworts and Hornworts of Ontario
  • Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts: A Field Guide to Common Bryophytes of the Northeast
  • Algae Freshwater Algae: Identification and Use as Bioindicators
  • Algae Freshwater algae


  • Mushrooms Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada
  • Mushrooms  Le grand livre des champignons du Québec et de l'est du Canada
  • Lichens Lichens of the North Woods
  • Lichens Common Lichens of Northeastern North America
  • Lichens Macrolichens of New England

Other Life

  • Bacteria A Field Guide to Bacteria
  • Bacteria Guide to Microlife
All Living Creatures

Sky and Earth

  • Sky and Earth Field Guide to Natural Phenomena
  • Binocular Astronomy Binocular Astronomy
  • Binocular Astronomy Touring the Universe Through Binoculars
  • Astronomical Events What's Out Tonight : 50 Year Astronomy Field Guide 2000 to 2050
  • Weather The Weather Identification Handbook
  • Weather National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather
  • Snowflakes Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes
  • Atmospheric Optics Atmospheric Optics
  • Atmospheric Optics Rainbows, Haloes, and Glories
  • Ice Halos Atmospheric Halos
  • Natural Radio Aurora Chorus
  • Natural Radio Whistlers and Related Ionospheric Phenomena
  • Geology Firefly Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossil