The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Edmonton: Federation of Alberta Naturalists, 1992. Comprehensive study of all birds that breed in Alberta with easy-to-read distribution maps, details on nesting and other behavioral patterns, and color plates.
Gadd, Ben. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Jasper: Corax Press, 2009. At over 800 pages and one kilogram (2.2 pounds), this is the classic field guide to the Canadian Rockies. It is in full color, and although bulky for backpackers, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the natural history of the region.
Gray, D. M., and D. H. Male. Handbook of Snow. Toronto: Pergamon Press, 1991. Comprehensive guide on everything you ever wanted to know about snow but didn’t ask because no one else would have known either.
Hallworth, Beryl, and C. C. Chinnappa. Plants of Kananaskis Country. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1997. An incredibly detailed book, encompassing more than 400 species of flora, complete with color plates and illustrations. It could be used in the field anywhere in the Canadian Rockies.
Hare, F. K., and M. K. Thomas. Climate Canada. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, 1974. One of the most extensive works on Canada’s climate ever written. Includes a chapter on how the climate is changing.
Herrero, Stephen. Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidances. New York: The Lyons Press, 2002. Through a series of gruesome stories, this book catalogs the stormy relationship between people and bruins, provides hints on avoiding attacks, and tells what to do in case you’re attacked.
Jones, Karen. Wolf Mountains. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002. Explores the history of wolves in the Canadian Rockies, with emphasis on the often-controversial relationship between man and wolf.
Lauriault, Jean. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1989. Makes tree identification easy through drawings of leaves. Maps detail distribution of species.
Marty, Sid. The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008. True story of a grizzly bear that went on a terrifying rampage near the town of Banff.
Musiani, Marco. A New Era for Wolves and People. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2009. A detailed analysis of the relationship between wolves and people in both North America and Europe. All contributors are wolf experts; includes stunning images.
Patterson, W. S. The Physics of Glaciers. London: Butterworth–Heinemann, 1999. A highly technical look at all aspects of glaciation, why glaciers form, how they flow, and their effect on the environment. The first edition was published in 1969 by Pergamon Press (Toronto).
Rezendes, Paul. Tracking and the Art of Seeing. Charlottesville, VA: Camden House Publishing, 1992. This is one of the best of many books dedicated to tracking North American mammals. It begins with a short essay on the relationship of humans with nature.
Sharp, Robert P. Living Ice: Understanding Glaciers and Glaciation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988. A detailed but highly readable book on the formation, types, and results of glaciers.
Slinger, Joey. Down & Dirty Birding. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1996. A hilarious but practical look at the art of bird-watching, with sections of text such as “How to steer clear of people who think bird-watching is better than sex.”
Whitaker, John. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. New York: Random House, 1997. One of a series of field guides produced by the National Audubon Society, this one details mammals through color plates and detailed descriptions of characteristics, habitat, and range.
Wilkinson, Kathleen. Wildflowers of Alberta. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1999. Color plates of all flowers found in the mountain national parks and beyond. Color plates and line drawings are indispensable for identification.
Wright, William H. The Grizzly Bear. Originally produced by the University of Nebraska Press in 1909 and reprinted many times since, this book was authored by a hunter turned naturalist whose change of attitude throughout a lifetime of association with bears is poignant.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition