Generalized Field Guides

Observing Nature
Seasons and Places
More Resources
Habitats
All-Life Websites

Ontario Field Naturalist's Toolchest
Observing Nature
Wildlife of North America: A Naturalist's LifelistGreat Lakes Nature GuideA Field Guide to the Familiar: Learning to Observe the Natural WorldNaturalist's Guide to Observing NatureWildlife Watcher's Handbook
Wildlife of North America: A Naturalist's Lifelist GB
This is a relatively new book that provides a checklist for all the native, accidental and alien species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies of North America.  This guide covers 4244 species in all.  In Ontario we have over 1130 of those species.  In you local area you could with much effort findat least 500 to 600 species that appear on the checklist in the book.
Great Lakes Nature Guide Pub GB
Covers common plants and animals in the Great Lakes area.  Of the field guides that attempt to cover all of nature this book is the best because it is the most local.  The best use of a field guide like this is to fill in gaps in your field guide collection, such as fish.
A Field Guide to the Familiar: Learning to Observe the Natural World GB
This book shows that even the familiar and common can be interesting and worth study.
Naturalist's Guide to Observing Nature GB
This book encourages you to get the most out of your nature experience; to go beyond just identification to learning and understanding the interconnections in nature.
Wildlife Watcher's Handbook GB
This book provides tips on how to get closer to wildlife.  Of particular interest is the chapter on stalking.  Most of us use a beginner's level of stalking, a few of us use still stalking.  But to get closer to an animal requires certain skills and the right conditions as described in the intermediate and advanced stalking sections.  For example, great care must be placed on how you walk.  Not only must you carefully place your feet to avoid loud noises such as snapping twigs but rolling your foot helps.  Approach must be very slow and you must freeze whenever you think you have been detected.  Advanced stalking is the most difficult as it requires intimate knowledge of an animal habits so as to remain undetected by all their senses.

Seasons and Places
A Nature Guide to OntarioNaturally Ontario: Exploring the Wealth of Ontario's Wild PlacesNature's Year in the Kawarthas: A Guide to the Unfolding SeasonsNature's Year: Changing Seasons in Central and Eastern OntarioGreat Lakes nature: an outdoor year
A Nature Guide to Ontario GB
Natural areas of Ontario described.  Lots of hotspots described.
Naturally Ontario: Exploring the Wealth of Ontario's Wild Places GB
Natural areas and various ways of taking in those areas described in detail.
Nature's Year in the Kawarthas: A Guide to the Unfolding Seasons GB
An interesting guide to the seasons.  While it is for Kawarthas mainly with a bit of adjustment it works for other areas of Ontario.
Nature's Year: Changing Seasons in Central and Eastern Ontario GB
A broadened version of the Kawarthas book.
Great Lakes nature: an outdoor year GB
A day by day journey of one naturalist living in Michagan to learn her natural environment.

More Resources
A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North AmericaHow to find information on Canadian natural resourcesSmithsonian Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth
A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America GB
This book is a field guide to field guides.  It is out of date being published in 1999, but covers far more than my guide could cover. International Field Guides is a follow up to the book.  Over 5000 field guides from around the world are in this database.
How to find information on Canadian natural resources GB
Smithsonian Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth GB Am

Habitats 
Nature is a patchwork of habitats, both common and rare  Here are books that cover specific habitats:

The Alvars of Ontario Savanna, barrens and rock outcrops plant communities of North America Cliff Ecology: Pattern and Process in Cliff Ecosystems The Woodland Heritage of Southern Ontario Field guide to forest ecosystems of Central Ontario
The Alvars of Ontario  GB
Alvars are areas of limestone pavement.  Alvars are a globally rare habitat.
Savanna, barrens and rock outcrops plant communities of North America GB
Cliff Ecology: Pattern and Process in Cliff Ecosystems GB
The Woodland Heritage of Southern Ontario GB
Field guide to forest ecosystems of Central Ontario >> GB
A way to identify the various forest ecosystems.  You can appreciate forests more if you can spot the subtle differences between different types of forest.

Waterfalls of Ontario Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater EnvironmentsEncylopedia of Tidepools and Rocky ShorelinesForest ForensicsLife in the Soil
Waterfalls of Ontario GB
More info at the companion website Waterfalls of Ontario
Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments GB
Encyclopedia of tidepools and rocky shores GB
Forest Forensics GB
Figure out the history of a forest
Life in the Soil GB
A field guide to the organisms that live in the soil and is a great book for understanding soil in general.


For some more habitat books visit the plant section of my website here.  Go down a bit to find the three "The Book of ..".

All-Life Websites
Here are some resources on the web:

NatureServe Explorer Whole web of life, for North America, information on over 65000 organisms.  Includes information about conservation status, distribution, ecology, life history, population and more (if available).  If no field guides are available for a particular type of life go here.
Tree of Life Web Project An attempt to catalog the entire tree of life
Encyclopedia of Life This website is trying to catalog all known species.  It will take awhile.
Natural Heritage Information Centre From the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Includes a checklist of most (99%) of Ontario's known species, herp atlas, odonata atlas, an index of Ontario's natural areas and communities (meaning habitats varieties) and more.
Discover Life Has online tools to identify species, some are useful here.  If you have a desire to create your own field guide for others to use, make an ID Guide.  You do not need to have photos or illustrations of every species (although you do need some), you simply make a key based on elimination, and link each species to already exisitng pages.
Animal Diversity Web Classification, life histories, pictures
Hinterland's Who Who Detailed profiles of selected animals
American Field Guide Has video clips on a variety of topics
eNature Field Guides (many features restricted to the USA but still useful, over 5500 species covered)
Build your own Field Guide Field guide to common birds, amphibians and common fish of any district or county of Ontario
Canada's Aquatic Environments
American Field Guide Videos of North American animals from PBS
ARKive Videos and picture of the biodiversity of our planet.
Zootaxa Scientific papers on taxonomy.  Many articles are open access.  Many articles have identification keys.  Very extensive and covers over 14% of all new taxa or over 13000 new taxa.  A few papers even describe new species found in Ontario.  One paper covers three new species of Pinion moths (a type of Owlet moth) of which two were found in eastern Ontario near Ottawa.