If you are a birder and you are going on Spring Break (from the US), don't forget that there are birds where you are going. And, probably, there are bird books that cover your destination.
One of the really cool things about North American birding is that when you do go down to tye Yucatan, Caribbean, or Central America you'll see birds that are migratory and familiar, but in their other home (but just on their way back). They'll be surprised to see you!
I just got a copy of Birds of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, though I've got no personal travel plans for Aruba and environs at the moment. This field guide by Bart de Boer, Eric Newton and Robin Restall is small format and uses a Peterson like format with 71 plates of drawings (which are quite good) on one side and brief descriptions on the other. Since the guide covers the three rain forest islands located in the southern Caribbean (near the Venezuelan coast) maps are not really useful, but there is a comprehensive checklist in the back of the book that indicates which of the three islands each bird appears on.
Compared to the other true field guides that cover this area, well, this seems to be the only one. The list price is seemingly a little high at 28 bucks, but it is much cheaper on Amazon. I've seen it available from another publisher as well, but I think that may be out of print.
If you happen to be going to the West Indies instead of the southern Caribbean, this other book is the one you want.
Sorry, I've no interest in birding, but I do like chocolate, and I immediately thought of Green & Black's chocolate when I saw that cover:
I just got a copy of Birds of Aruba, CuraÃ§ao, and Bonaire, though I've got no personal travel plans for Aruba and environs at the moment.
I showed that quote to my wife just now and said, "See, I'm not the only one who does that"--that is, collect bird books from regions that he has no immediate plans to travel to. Thank you! :)
I've got bird books on my iPad for my trip to Australia--excited! Last spring, I was living on the Black River in LaCrosse WI, about 2 miles from its confluence with the Mississippi, so I saw tons of migratory birds I don't usually see in Madison. For about 2 weeks, there were yellow-rumped warblers, my first time seeing them. I was thrilled when hiking in Maine in July to see the bird again, this time in its home range. We renewed our acquaintance and caught up on gossip.
I was working in the yard a couple of summers ago and I was hearing all these birds, and it bugged me no end that I could not identify any of them. So I sprung for the deluxe edition of Stan Tekiela's "Birds of Minnesota." Now when I hear a bird, I can say, "Oh year, I know that one, it's the one about 2/3 of the way through disc 1..."
Stan's Minnesota CD might be superceded by this one: Bird Songs of the Northwoods, and the Audobon CD is good as well: The National Audubon Society Interactive CD-ROM Guide to North American Birds (National Audubon Society Interactive CD-ROM Series)