LOOKING FOR A GUIDE to 111 great birding (nee bird-watching) spots around the world? Peter Alden and John Gooders have provided on in this delicious new book, Finding Birds Around the World, (Houghton Mifflin, $17.95). There is a brief, fact-crammed description of each spot: the logistics of getting and staying there, and a run-down of what's to be seen once you arrive. The authors also provide a checklist of birds, coded according to rarity and season, for each location. The book begins with St. Paul, in the Pribilof Islands, located in the Bering Sea off Alaska. Alden and Gooders report that 1 million birds breed in these islands during much of the summer. The books ends with New Zealand, which, according to the authors, has "many resident birders, a healthy climate, good field guides and diversified habitats."
Alas, this is the kind of book that ought to have been loose-leaf. In its present state (683 pages), it is too heavy to carry to exotic places, and besides, one normally wouldn't visit more than a few of the spots mentioned in a single journey. But this is the publisher's lack of imagination and in no way detracts from the usefulness of this unique guide.