The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an excellent collection of nature photos including most common birds and mammals as well as plants at their digital image library Almost all of the photos online are in the public domain and can be downloaded and used in reports and projects without requesting special permission. They ask only that you give credit to the USFWS and the photographer whose name is listed with the photo.
Alderfer, Jonathan (ed.). National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Arizona/New Mexico . Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006. This handy, really pocket-size (4x6) guide includes most of the birds you're likely to see in Arizona. In addition to a photo, it includes information about behavior, habitat and specific local sites where you are likely to find the bird.
Alsop, Fred J. III. Birds of North America: Western Region. New York: DK Publishing Co., 2001. A wonderful bird guide, with the elegant combination of information and graphics that are a trademark of DK Publishing. This book is currently out of print, but you may be able to find it at your local library or used book store.
Bailowitz, Richard. 70 Common Butterflies of the Southwest . Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1997.
Barlowe, Dot. The Sonoran Desert by Day and Night. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2002.
Bowers, Janice Emily. Shrubs & Trees of the Southwest Deserts. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Assoc., 1993.
Bowers, Nora and Rick. Cactus of Arizona Field Guide (Arizona Field Guides). Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc., 2008. This book classifies cacti by stem type rather than flower appearance as many plant guides do. This is helpful in identifying plants when not in flower. Stems are broken down into Cylindrical, Segmented, Stick-like, and Columnar, with varieties being grouped within each type: e.g. pincushion, barrel, hedgehog, cholla etc. This is a handy method of working and many varieties of each type are further described with close-up photos. An excellent guide to the Cacti of Arizona.
___________________. Wildflowers of Arizona Field Guide (Arizona Field Guides). Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc., 2008. This book identifies wildflowers by their blossoms and, like most of these guides, doesn't help much if your specimen isn't blooming. If you have a flower to work with, however, it is an excellent guide with a full-page photo and exellent descriptive material.
Brennan, Thomas C. and Andrew T. Holycross. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. Phoenix: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2006.
Burns, Jim. Jim Burns' Arizona Birds: From the Backyard to the Backwoods. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008. This book, which concentrates on the hard to find species avid birders can pursue only in Arizona, omits many of the birds you are likely to see in Arizona in favor of lesser-known species that reach the northern limits of their range in Arizona or the southwest and species that are wanderers from Mexico. If you're looking for tips on where to look for a rare Lucifer's hummingbird or Nutting's flycatcher, this is the book for you. If you want a book that covers more of the birds you might actually see in Arizona, try Jonathan Alderfer's Field Guide to Birds: Arizona and New Mexico listed above.
Chambers, Nina et al. Pollinators of the Sonoran Desert: A Field Guide. Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2004.
Cockrum, E. Lendell and Yar Petryszyn. Mammals of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. Tucson: Treasure Chest Publications, 1992. Black-and-white drawings.
Dodge, Natt N. Flowers of the Southwest Deserts. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1985.
Dunn, Erica H. and Diane L. Tessaglia-Hymes. Birds at Your Feeder: A Guide to Feeding Habits, Behavior, Distribution, and Abundance. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. Compiles information provided by thousands of feeder owners enrolled in Project FeederWatch.
Elmore, Francis H. Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1976.
Epple, Anne Orth. A Field Guide to the Plants of Arizona . Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, Inc., 1995. More than 800 excellent photos and complete descriptions of plants.
Gray, Mary Taylor. Watchable Birds of the Southwest. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1995. Large color photos of the birds you are most likely to spot.
Hanson, Roseann. Animal Tracks. Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 2001.
Hare, Trevor. Poisonous Dwellers of the Desert: Description, Habitat, Prevention, Treatment Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1995. A short, reasonably priced guide to venomous desert life--how to avoid getting bit and what to do if you do, illustrated by Barbara Terkanian.
Hassler, Lynn. Birds of the American Southwest, Expanded Edition (Wild West). Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2008.
Jaeger, Edmund C. Desert Wild Flowers. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991.
_______________ Desert Wildlife. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1950, 1961. Excellent descriptions of desert birds and animals in an easygoing style which will appeal to readers of all ages.
Johnson, Dan. Fish of Arizona Field Guide (The Fish of). Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc., 2008. Useful information in a handy little book with waterproof pages.
Kaufman, Kenn. Lives of North American Birds. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996. This is the book for you if you want to know more about the bird than just its identification. Kaufman gives complete information on habitat, feeding, nesting, migration and conservation status.
Kaufman, Lynn Hassler. Gambel's Quail (Look West Series) . Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2004.
_________________ Roadrunners (Look West Series) . Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2005.
Larson, Peggy Pickering. The Deserts of the Southwest: A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide (Sierra Club Naturalist's Guides) 2nd edition. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2000.
Martin, Alexander C. et al. American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. New York: Dover Publications, 1961. Extensive compilation of information gathered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; maps show range and diagrams illustrate seasonal food habits.
McMillon, Bill. Birding Arizona. Helena, Montana: Falcon Press Publishing Company, 1995. Gives 45 specific birding locations with maps and lists of the birds to be found at each one.
Merlin, Pinau. A Guide to Southern Arizona Bird Nests & Eggs (Volume 1. Desert Areas). Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, 2001. Describes ground nests (Gambel's Quail), cup nests (hummingbirds), platform nests (hawks), and cavity nests (woodpeckers and owls), as well as rarer types of nests. Information includes location, building materials, eggs, diet and feeding. Many drawings as well as a section of color photographs.
__________ A Field Guide to Desert Holes, Revised Edition . Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, 2002. This revised edition includes 50 full-color photos, a great improvement on the previous edition.
Olin, George. 50 Common Mammals of the Southwest. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 2000.
Sagstetter, Beth and Bill. The Mining Camps Speak: A New Way to Explore the Ghost Towns of the American West. Denver, CO: Benchmark Publishing of Colorado, 1998.Tekiela, Stan. Amazing Hummingbirds: Unique Images and Characteristics. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, 2010.
___________. Birds of Arizona Field Guide. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, 2003. This book is an excellent guide for birders who are not interested in using the ornithological classification utilized by most bird identification guides. The method here is simple: note the dominant color of the bird, turn to the section bearing that color tab; next note the size of the bird. Birds in this book are listed from smallest to largest; so the "black" section begins with the European Starling and ends with the Turkey Vulture. The photos are large, and additional information includes range in Arizona, size in inches, nest, migration, food and "Stan's Notes" which give tips on how to differentiate this bird from similar birds.
___________. Mammals of Arizona Field Guide (Arizona Field Guides). Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, 2008. A small format book just packed with information about all the mammals you might find in Arizona from the tiny desert shrew to the black bear. There are 3 pages of information on each animal, plus a full page photo and several smaller photos.
___________. Trees of Arizona Field Guide (Arizona Field Guides) . Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, 2008. In addition to excellent photos, this book provides information on leaves or needles, bark, mature size, fall color, and range within the state for 90 common Arizona trees. All the books in this series from Adventure Publications are a handy 4 1/4" by 6" size, handy for carrying while hiking or biking.
Sibley, David Allen. Sibley's Birding Basics. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. Information on how to get started in birding.
______________. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. A complete guide to identifying birds of the U.S.
______________. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Includes general information about birds along with detailed descriptions of the adaptations and life patterns of the bird families of North America.
Soffer, Ruth. North American Desert Life. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994.
Thompson, Bill et al. IDentify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. A collection of articles from Bird Watcher's Digest magazine.
Note: an underscore (__________) in place of the author's name in an entry indicates the same author as the work cited above. ____________________________________________________________________