BCR 136: Brian K. Wheeler, New Birds Of Prey Guides East & West


Brian Wheeler, Birds of Prey of The West & East Series. ©BirdCallsRadio All Rights Reserved. Photos may not be used without written permission.

Brian K. Wheeler has been studying, painting, and photographing birds of prey throughout the United States and Canada for more than fifty years. Brian is a renowned author, photographer, and illustrator of North American raptors. Brian’s raptor photographs and art work have been published in a multitude of publications in the last three decades. He is also coauthor and illustrator of Hawks of North America by Houghton Mifflin in 1987 (1st edition) and 2001 (2nd edition), coauthor and photographer of A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors by Academic Press in 1995 and by Princeton University Press in 2003, and author and photographer of Raptors of Eastern North America and Raptors of Western North America Princeton University Press in 2003. His latest set of raptor books, Birds of Prey of the East: a Field Guide and Birds of Prey of the West: A Field Guide by Princeton University Press were released in June 2018. Brian is the author and illustrator of these two innovative books. These two books will be the premier bird of prey field guides for North America.

His latest books ‘Birds of Prey of the West” and its companion volume, “Birds of Prey of the East”, are the most comprehensive and authoritative field guides to North American birds of prey ever published. Written and lavishly illustrated with stunning, lifelike paintings by leading field-guide illustrator, photographer, and author Brian K. Wheeler, the guides depict an enormous range of variations of age, sex, color, and plumage, and feature a significant amount of plumage data that has never been published before.

Show Notes:

  • When did you realize that birds of prey really interested you to the point that you would essentially devote you entire life to their study?
  • Your career has changed course several times, you’ve worked in museums and for a while you were selling fine art through galleries.

  • Who are some of the bird artists you admire and what do you like about them
  • You incorporated photography into your study of birds of prey and raptors, what led to this change from simply field sketching photographic captures?
  • Tell us about the Passenger Pigeon mural, that you created for the Chippewa Nature Center, Midland Michigan, what makes this so memorable to you?
  • You include Condors and Vultures in your latest guide. What is the difference between birds of prey and raptors, what formed your reasoning for including them?

  • You specifically acknowledge John Economidy for help researching and compiling the data used in the maps, and it is clear, that the final results are unrivaled in size and detail by any other current field guides. Tell us about the detailed range maps, what makes them unique?

  • You have now done several field guides featuring either photos or art as illustrations. What is your take on both mediums and why did you choose art for this latest guide?

Contact Brian K. Wheeler:  Interested in learning more, purchasing orignal paintings or speaking ingagements  with Brian Wheeler at your next event. At Mr. Wheeler’s request please contact Mardi Dickinson by sending a message with your details and contact information and I will pass the message along.

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  1. Leigh Wheeler on August 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Great resume Brian!!

  2. Balu on September 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Brian,

    This raptor book is One of the best ID raptor book in the world! I do appreciate for your great work! Its a really cool book, I really enjoy. We need similar quality book for Europe too, where I’m from…Even range maps, drawing and descirptions are Super detailed!!
    Congratulations again!


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