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The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

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The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found wes The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found west of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,600 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the West.


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The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found wes The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found west of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,600 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the West.

30 review for The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Graychin

    Having just written a review for Sibley’s Birding Basics I thought I might as well write a review for his field guide. Our family copy is pretty beat up at this point but it still gets a lot of use. I love this book. Not only for Sibley’s illustrations, which are terrific, but for his field marks and guidance. We’ve used other guides in the past, the Peterson and the Audubon guides, for example. I just prefer ‘The Sibley.” For ease of use and insight, I don’t think there’s a better choice. In clo Having just written a review for Sibley’s Birding Basics I thought I might as well write a review for his field guide. Our family copy is pretty beat up at this point but it still gets a lot of use. I love this book. Not only for Sibley’s illustrations, which are terrific, but for his field marks and guidance. We’ve used other guides in the past, the Peterson and the Audubon guides, for example. I just prefer ‘The Sibley.” For ease of use and insight, I don’t think there’s a better choice. In closing, I want to call bullshit on those folks that only want real photographs in their field guides. Don’t be like that. No matter how carefully selected a photo is, it is only a photo of a single individual at a single point in time. As such, it cannot adequately represent an average member of the species in the same way an illustration can. Get it? No two birds are perfectly alike, even when they’re members of the same species. Plus, light and shadow, season, molt, lifestage and other factors necessarily come into play in a photo. These can be in measure controlled for by illustrations.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    This is the definitive field guides for birds, in my humble opinion. My copy is absolutely in tatters too, with notes and observations on nearly every page. I suppose I need to buy a new one...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Randal

    We use colored tabs in our copy, when ever we get a new type of visitor in our back yard.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This is my go to book that I carry with me while out birdwatching. It has great drawings, descriptions and range maps. I purchased this to replace the first edition that had been a staple in my hiking backpack for over ten years. The reason that I made this decision is that with the first edition I misidentified a bird. I thought I saw a rare Winter Wren but, I had in fact seen a more common Pacific Wren. After 10 years species change. New ones are discovered or change their ranges. It is a good This is my go to book that I carry with me while out birdwatching. It has great drawings, descriptions and range maps. I purchased this to replace the first edition that had been a staple in my hiking backpack for over ten years. The reason that I made this decision is that with the first edition I misidentified a bird. I thought I saw a rare Winter Wren but, I had in fact seen a more common Pacific Wren. After 10 years species change. New ones are discovered or change their ranges. It is a good move to stay updated and informed so you can get the most out of your birding experience. I highly recommend this book to any birder, weather you are new or experienced. The layout is taxonomic so if you are unfamiliar with that all you need to do is flip through the book and read it to learn how the book is laid out. Taxonomic means that is it laid out by bird shape but that hard to explain and better to see with your own eyes by checking it out. It takes some getting used to but once you understand it, the layout is very helpful.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    As I always say, photos are better than drawings; however, this series is so beautifully drawn and well notated that one doesn't need actual photos. Pair it with this site: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ and you have an excellent resource set for any level of enthusiast. As I always say, photos are better than drawings; however, this series is so beautifully drawn and well notated that one doesn't need actual photos. Pair it with this site: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ and you have an excellent resource set for any level of enthusiast.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Now the top-of-the-line. A terrific book. Still waiting for the recorded calls next to each identifying picture - little mini things, like in the greeting cards, sort of.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doranna Durgin

    This one will always be a "current book." My favorite bird guide--for the illustrations, the information included, and the little mini index in front of each family of birds.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stan Spencer

    The best book yet for birding in the West.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim Porter

    I'll be "currently-reading" this masterpiece for years to come. Beautiful field guide, field book. The passion of the author is contagious. Looking forward to many years and countless observations.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Werth

    Been using this for a while, and I always enjoy pulling it out and thumbing through. The book is handsome and sturdy, the illustrations are well-drawn, and the bird descriptions are helpful and terse.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Morgane

    An incredibly useful reference book for birding! I appreciate all the detailed illustrations and feel more confident in my bird identification skills. I've already been putting it to use!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Not much of a plot

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Overall, I love this bird guide. It just makes so much sense to me. I love Sibley's drawings, they really look like the birds I see in real life to me. He pays close attention to the reality of how the birds look rather than putting an artistic spin on it, and pays close attention to the variations and subspecies. Things I love about this book: The first inner page you open up has the key to range maps (very useful place to put them) and a ruler with inches and cm (for helping estimate size which Overall, I love this bird guide. It just makes so much sense to me. I love Sibley's drawings, they really look like the birds I see in real life to me. He pays close attention to the reality of how the birds look rather than putting an artistic spin on it, and pays close attention to the variations and subspecies. Things I love about this book: The first inner page you open up has the key to range maps (very useful place to put them) and a ruler with inches and cm (for helping estimate size which I am really quite bad at doing). The first page for a group (such as swans and geese or wood warblers) offers a great first look for comparison between species and a logical page number for each species. Within each species section, there is a range map, drawings of male/female/juvenile, the breeding adult and non-breeding adult (if plumage varies) as views of the bird from different angles: above, below, from the side, in-flight, etc. This is SO helpful to have right there. He also includes hybrids where applicable and a logical setup of sub-species or regional variations with the regional label next to the bird and subcaptions pointing out the distinguishing features. Maybe its because I am a very visual person, but this really works for me and is the highlight of the book and the top reason why its my favourite bird guide. It might be a bit small and squished in for some readers, but I love that its so full of information and I'm young and can handle reading small fonts if it means having more useful info in ONE place on the SAME page.

  14. 4 out of 5

    lia

    I wanted to comment on this book, which for many years, I have used almost daily. Before I became a Sibley devotee I was big on the Audubon guide. It's a toss up really, because the Audubon has real photographs and the Sibley has drawings-this made me resistant at first to changing over to the Sibley--but when I moved to New York I bought the East Coast version, and really grew to like it. That said, I really like the Audobon as well, but dislike where Audubon was coming from when he first start I wanted to comment on this book, which for many years, I have used almost daily. Before I became a Sibley devotee I was big on the Audubon guide. It's a toss up really, because the Audubon has real photographs and the Sibley has drawings-this made me resistant at first to changing over to the Sibley--but when I moved to New York I bought the East Coast version, and really grew to like it. That said, I really like the Audobon as well, but dislike where Audubon was coming from when he first started cataloging birds since he was essentially killing birds to be able to document them. Luckily for Sibley that kind of work is now not necessary. If you like looking at nature, isn't it great to figure out more about the thing you are admiring? I think so too.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ken-ichi

    An exceptional field guide. Layouts and illustrations are clean and consistent, every species account includes multiple plumages (if relevant), maps, and useful points of identification. The organization is taxonomic, which can be troublesome for beginners, but the illustrations are so nice that the book is highly "flippable," i.e. it's relatively easy to flip through and find something close to what you're seeing. My only real complaint is that the pictorial indexes that lead each family only s An exceptional field guide. Layouts and illustrations are clean and consistent, every species account includes multiple plumages (if relevant), maps, and useful points of identification. The organization is taxonomic, which can be troublesome for beginners, but the illustrations are so nice that the book is highly "flippable," i.e. it's relatively easy to flip through and find something close to what you're seeing. My only real complaint is that the pictorial indexes that lead each family only show non-breading plumage. Those grids of illustrations are useful and unique among the field guides I own, but showing only non-breeding plumage is obviously less than ideal during the breeding season.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    While we love our Birds of Oregon book for its specificity and ease of use, we bought one of these for travels to other states. One needs a bit more experience to utilize Sibley's versus the Oregon book, but there are more pictures offering several variations when needed. The Sibley's app is astounding, and, truth be told, superior to the book (if anyone thought I'd say that, ever, I would've called them an idiot, but there it is). The app not only offers the birds that are in the book and the i While we love our Birds of Oregon book for its specificity and ease of use, we bought one of these for travels to other states. One needs a bit more experience to utilize Sibley's versus the Oregon book, but there are more pictures offering several variations when needed. The Sibley's app is astounding, and, truth be told, superior to the book (if anyone thought I'd say that, ever, I would've called them an idiot, but there it is). The app not only offers the birds that are in the book and the introductory information on taxonomy, bird descriptions, and general ornithological considerations, but has sounds, a place to record your sightings by location, and much more. The book is worth your while, sure, but if you have the technology, buy the app.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This is now my second favorite bird book. We found it at in the gift shop of Arches National Park in Utah. Our favorite bird book is misplaced and we were relying on two others that had severe limitations. What I like about this guide: Color coded seasonal migration routes. Illustrations of both sexes, resting, inflight top and in flight bottom. Unique flight wing shapes detailed Subspecies not only mentioned but illustrated. Con: This book lacks what most bird books do, a visual size reference. My fa This is now my second favorite bird book. We found it at in the gift shop of Arches National Park in Utah. Our favorite bird book is misplaced and we were relying on two others that had severe limitations. What I like about this guide: Color coded seasonal migration routes. Illustrations of both sexes, resting, inflight top and in flight bottom. Unique flight wing shapes detailed Subspecies not only mentioned but illustrated. Con: This book lacks what most bird books do, a visual size reference. My favorite book shows the size of the bird in relation to the book itself. But, that aside, this book is the best.

  18. 5 out of 5

    K

    A pretty wide variety of bird field guides is available nowadays. Each has its pluses and minuses. Sibley's is my go-to. It is a little more of a reference book than quick identification guide (like Peterson, for example). Pluses: Multiple pictures per species - by age, sex, season as needed. Drawings instead of photos. Taxonomic order (my preference) Detailed descriptions of appearance and behavior. Minus: Too complete, with every rarity recorded, which is unnecessary and just makes the book thicker ( A pretty wide variety of bird field guides is available nowadays. Each has its pluses and minuses. Sibley's is my go-to. It is a little more of a reference book than quick identification guide (like Peterson, for example). Pluses: Multiple pictures per species - by age, sex, season as needed. Drawings instead of photos. Taxonomic order (my preference) Detailed descriptions of appearance and behavior. Minus: Too complete, with every rarity recorded, which is unnecessary and just makes the book thicker (and heavier), and, as a result, is not for beginners who will have trouble navigating.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tattered Cover Book Store

    Anthony H says: If you're looking for the only and absolute best field guide you'll ever need or want, look no further. Also author/illustrator of the Sibley Guide to birds of Eastern North America. These books are filled with precise field markings, youth to adult renderings, male and female depiction, and more. NOTHING EVEN COMPARES!!! Anthony H says: If you're looking for the only and absolute best field guide you'll ever need or want, look no further. Also author/illustrator of the Sibley Guide to birds of Eastern North America. These books are filled with precise field markings, youth to adult renderings, male and female depiction, and more. NOTHING EVEN COMPARES!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kidsbookworm

    I "grew up reading" the Petersen Guide and the blue Golden Guide to Birds. But David Sibley's guide is so comprehensive, interesting, and filled with wonderful artwork that I had to buy this edition, too. We love to watch and feed the birds and enjoy seeing new species, like the Painted Bunting, when we travel, so a guide to birds is a necessity. We also like to identify birds who visit at our feeders during migratory seasons.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alastair

    This is my go-to book that I carry with me while out birdwatching during holidays to the western USA. It has good drawings, descriptions and range maps. I highly recommend this book to any birder, whether you are new or experienced. The layout is taxonomic meaning that is it laid out by bird shape rather than by name. This takes some getting used to for maybe a first time birder but once you understand it, the layout is very helpful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    It's an excellent field guides with good pictures and descriptions, and ways to distinguish among similar birds; I sometimes have trouble finding a bird that I've seen but that is more due to my lack of general ornithological knowledge. I think a short intro characterizing the different classes of birds or giving some background would be helpful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Everyone who likes to carry one has an ideal field guide. I appreciate Sibley's for its sturdy flexible cover, good construction, and modest size. It fits nicely into my outdoor jacket and is a comfortable weight. The information is direct, simple, and easy to browse without sacrificing too much for the sake of brevity. Overall, this is an ideal field guide for anyone curious about birds.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    Although I love the ease of comparison, clear navigation and description of bird songs and calls, there are a few surprising errors; the index excludes the american redstart, the range map for the wood duck is absolutely wrong (only in the southeast of florida and texas?), and there are obvious typos on many bird group introductions. Otherwise a great and indispensable resource!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    It is easy to see why this is widely regarded as the finest field guide currently in print. It is extremely informative and easy to use. The illustrations and descriptions are excellent, and the groupings are highly intuitive. Top marks.

  26. 4 out of 5

    M. Rivera

    I bought this book for an ornithology class. I loved it. it has great illustrations as well as easy to use range maps and life histories of the birds. I am definitely going to buy the eastern guide soon.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lonnie

    Considered the bible of North American birds. Beautifully illustrated plates painted by the author himself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I use it all the time. A valuable reference.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    The best bird guide ever!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is an excellent field guild with beautiful illustrations.

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