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National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

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This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy. With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North Ame This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy. With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists (including the ever-popular hummingbird), this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada. The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species; 16 new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations; 80 new maps; and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.


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This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy. With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North Ame This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy. With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists (including the ever-popular hummingbird), this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada. The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species; 16 new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations; 80 new maps; and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.

30 review for National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gauri

    I've gotten very interested in birds this past year, and I wanted to pick up an introductory guide to bird-watching and bird-identifying. Since this edition is from 2002, it is obviously not up to date and entirely accurate, but I was able to use this guide to identify some ducks that swim in the pond next to my dorm, which got me excited. This book has inspired me to take up bird-watching as a hobby, and I'm very excited to take some time out this winter break to lure birds in front of my windo I've gotten very interested in birds this past year, and I wanted to pick up an introductory guide to bird-watching and bird-identifying. Since this edition is from 2002, it is obviously not up to date and entirely accurate, but I was able to use this guide to identify some ducks that swim in the pond next to my dorm, which got me excited. This book has inspired me to take up bird-watching as a hobby, and I'm very excited to take some time out this winter break to lure birds in front of my window with birdseed and try to identify them. It's kind of like Pokemon, almost, except you don't catch them forever, but do get to write down that you've seen several species and keep that list your whole life. This is so much fun. I'm going to use binoculars, too, to look at nests in trees!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anne K.

    This is my trusty battered, mud stained bird book and I love it. The pictures are detailed, the descriptions short and concise, and there's enough space in the margins for me to write sighting notations. This is my trusty battered, mud stained bird book and I love it. The pictures are detailed, the descriptions short and concise, and there's enough space in the margins for me to write sighting notations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    I actually have a copy of the 7th Edition of this book. I am a beginning birder and this volume has proven enormously useful in helping me identify different types of birds that are endemic to my region of the U.S.A. The illustrations are clear and the guide does a really great job at pointing out the subtle differences between species of birds that look very similar, as well as giving seasonal maps of bird migrations. I highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Although we don’t trek out to find illusive species, we are avid bird watchers from our patio. We look for a pair of cardinals to make their way to our platform feeder most every evening. We spy a lone blue jay who secretively makes his way to the feeders when no one seems to be watching. (For some reason, our jay is not aggressive and seems shy.) We watch the aggressive mocking birds chase off the chickadees. It’s an exciting time in the summer mornings when we spot a mallard pair noshing under Although we don’t trek out to find illusive species, we are avid bird watchers from our patio. We look for a pair of cardinals to make their way to our platform feeder most every evening. We spy a lone blue jay who secretively makes his way to the feeders when no one seems to be watching. (For some reason, our jay is not aggressive and seems shy.) We watch the aggressive mocking birds chase off the chickadees. It’s an exciting time in the summer mornings when we spot a mallard pair noshing underneath the feeders. The arrival of the juncos marks the beginning of winter for us. The Field Guide to the Birds of North America boasts “All 1,023 species,” new maps and new illustrations. We’ve found some guidebooks’ illustrations to be pretty lack luster—it’s hard to distinguish colors and sizes. That’s not the case for this seventh edition. The illustrations are realistic and colorful. The book is categorized by species, families (following the the 2016 NACC guidelines), scientific names, and subspecies. It also describes behavior and voice for identification purposes. Individual maps mark the range. Because it covers all the species of North America, its girth might be a bit much to lug around in a back pack, but it’s perfectly fine for our patio bird watching. National Geography Field Guide to the Birds of North America would be a great gift for any naturalist or budding bird watcher on your holiday list.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janet C-B

    This is a comprehensive reference book about 800 North American birds. It is heavily illustrated, unlike some of the more condensed field guides. I especially appreciate seeing 3-5 related birds shown on one page. I also appreciate the pages that show a number of birds in flight within the same family, example shore birds or hawks, because this is often how birds are observed. I find this reference especially helpful in narrowing the possibilities when trying to identify a bird within a family. I This is a comprehensive reference book about 800 North American birds. It is heavily illustrated, unlike some of the more condensed field guides. I especially appreciate seeing 3-5 related birds shown on one page. I also appreciate the pages that show a number of birds in flight within the same family, example shore birds or hawks, because this is often how birds are observed. I find this reference especially helpful in narrowing the possibilities when trying to identify a bird within a family. It is also helpful for me in identifying birds that might be observed outside the usual range. Because the reference book is heavy at 450+ pages, I do not usually bring it with me when traveling out of state. Although some bird-id groups prefer a different common field guide, I have found this guide very helpful over the years.

  6. 4 out of 5

    William Schram

    Bird-watching is a satisfying hobby. It is a great way to spend your time. I enjoy seeing birds, but I do not seek them out. If I am walking in a park or on a nature trail, bird calls add to the experience. National Geographic brings us The Field Guide to the Birds of North America. The version I found is the seventh edition and covers 1023 species. National Geographic has organized the information to reflect our new understanding of genetics. If you are new to bird-watching, the book has a guide Bird-watching is a satisfying hobby. It is a great way to spend your time. I enjoy seeing birds, but I do not seek them out. If I am walking in a park or on a nature trail, bird calls add to the experience. National Geographic brings us The Field Guide to the Birds of North America. The version I found is the seventh edition and covers 1023 species. National Geographic has organized the information to reflect our new understanding of genetics. If you are new to bird-watching, the book has a guide for you. It tells you about specific features to look for in appearance, bird call, and range. Each bird has a distinct set of features and comes with a map. The book has tons of information. I cannot think of any negative aspects.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angelo

    This book is about the birds of North America. It talks about how to find, identify, and the age. This book takes you through the world of birds.As you read the book it will tell you where the type of bird lives. Which you way think it is odd because a bird can go any where, but some birds have certain environments that they can only live in. There are some birds that come here from other countries as well. I think the type of people that would really like this book is bird watchers or people th This book is about the birds of North America. It talks about how to find, identify, and the age. This book takes you through the world of birds.As you read the book it will tell you where the type of bird lives. Which you way think it is odd because a bird can go any where, but some birds have certain environments that they can only live in. There are some birds that come here from other countries as well. I think the type of people that would really like this book is bird watchers or people that like to become watchers.But,I don’t know what kind of birds people would be in to. I would definitely say check out the birds of prey.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Johann

    While I haven't actually read through this book from cover to cover (I'm using the sixth edition), it has proven itself extremely useful. I spent quite some time reading about the various field guides online and thought I had decided on the best option. Then I went to our local bookstore to flip through the options they had (including the Sibley, Stokes, Kaufman, and a few other guides), and this one really stood out from the rest. What I love about the book are the quick indexes on the front an While I haven't actually read through this book from cover to cover (I'm using the sixth edition), it has proven itself extremely useful. I spent quite some time reading about the various field guides online and thought I had decided on the best option. Then I went to our local bookstore to flip through the options they had (including the Sibley, Stokes, Kaufman, and a few other guides), and this one really stood out from the rest. What I love about the book are the quick indexes on the front and back inside covers and the tabs for quick searching. My son and I have been able to identify a few birds in our backyard and it has been really fun to use! The illustrations are also beautiful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    T

    Can't live without this one--it goes everywhere with me. I've since updated and bought the 4th and 5th editions, but all of my birding notes are still in this very worn copy. An excellent field guide, in my opinion. I supplement it with The Sibley Guide to Birds, which stays at home while I drag the Ntl. Geographic guide with me. Can't live without this one--it goes everywhere with me. I've since updated and bought the 4th and 5th editions, but all of my birding notes are still in this very worn copy. An excellent field guide, in my opinion. I supplement it with The Sibley Guide to Birds, which stays at home while I drag the Ntl. Geographic guide with me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This reference is great. In past editions it was difficult to find specific birds, but the combination of durable flap index and thumb tabs for the most frequent bird families (hawks, warblers, sparrows, etc.) make it super easy to use. The written descriptions are fairly brief so the focus is on the drawings. The drawings are detailed and mostly include those of the different races, juveniles, and birds in flight.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    My favorite birding guide book. It has great pictures and descriptions. The blurbs with the range maps is fantastic and it has a lot of incidental species to South Texas (at least) that a lot of guide books lack since they are not "common enough", I guess. There's a handy checklist in the back if you want to check off species as you see them, but since I'm a much more casual birder, I just write in the white space next to the bird where and when I saw it for the first time. My favorite birding guide book. It has great pictures and descriptions. The blurbs with the range maps is fantastic and it has a lot of incidental species to South Texas (at least) that a lot of guide books lack since they are not "common enough", I guess. There's a handy checklist in the back if you want to check off species as you see them, but since I'm a much more casual birder, I just write in the white space next to the bird where and when I saw it for the first time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    S̶e̶a̶n̶

    Not my everyday field guide, but the illustrations can be useful for cross-referencing species, and it does cover all of North America so is good for travel outside of my region. I prefer The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America for regular home regional use. Not my everyday field guide, but the illustrations can be useful for cross-referencing species, and it does cover all of North America so is good for travel outside of my region. I prefer The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America for regular home regional use.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Fresonke Harper

    We use this as a back up guide that is handy for those visiting both coasts of the United States since it contains the birds on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, a divide in the country that has lead to different species of birds like Meadowlarks and Bluebirds. It has good details on the hawks, too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Greg Brozeit

    Finally finished reading this cover-to-cover after a year of about a page a day plus many reread parts as I tried to identify birds. Anyone in North American interested in finding out more about the birds around them should own this book. Great illustrations, great facts, and great insight to help appreciate the world around us.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott Cox

    The illustrations and information contained in this field guide makes it my favorite for field use. Perhaps Sibley’s guide contains more detailed and up-to-date information, but this still remains my favorite guide - it helps of course that it contains all my hand-written notes from 3 years of field ornithology courses.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A very detailed book of birds. I don't know enough about the field to know how it compares to it's competitors, but the book does everything I want it to do. It has really come in handy with identifying all of those birds eating out of my birdfeeder. A very detailed book of birds. I don't know enough about the field to know how it compares to it's competitors, but the book does everything I want it to do. It has really come in handy with identifying all of those birds eating out of my birdfeeder.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stanley Hall

    I wish I had the newest edition of this book. I've been carrying around this edition for almost 20 years and it is the best guide that I've come across. I have several other guides and I use them to complement this one. I wish I had the newest edition of this book. I've been carrying around this edition for almost 20 years and it is the best guide that I've come across. I have several other guides and I use them to complement this one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    adriana

    my field guide of choice. fairly life-like renderings of the species with gendered, age-specific and seasonal plumages included. most importantly, small enough to carry without being burdensome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    I want to look birds up by state and color and size--this is a little more challenging than that, but it's very helpful. And it makes me feel smart :) I want to look birds up by state and color and size--this is a little more challenging than that, but it's very helpful. And it makes me feel smart :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is the bible of bird watching. I was turned on to bird watching when I married Kevin and I love it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Still my field guide of choice, well the 3rd edition is, in spite of new editions and Sibley's. This is the book I like to carry around. Still my field guide of choice, well the 3rd edition is, in spite of new editions and Sibley's. This is the book I like to carry around.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Invaluable to any birder...open it countless times during the year especially helpful identifying hawks and warblers. One of my Top 10!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    This is a great field guide, but sometimes I have a little trouble identifying the real bird from the drawings, but at least they have all stages of a birds life

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This detailed and handy field guide is a wonderful hiking companion. The full colored illustrations remove the guess work while identifying birds, and the range maps are accurate and trustworthy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda Jenkinson

    This is the perfect book for identifying that bird in your back yard or to take along camping or on a Sunday walk through a wooded park.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Most informative and well written. This is a great book to get a start and/ or to brush up on your facts of Bird species in North America.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wesam Karam

    woww :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    PoachingFacts

    This is it. If you're a serious birder or looking to get deeply into bird-watching, then this is the ultimate field guide to North American birds that you've been hoping for in a single, easily carried volume. For a field guide with features oriented towards beginner bird-watchers we recommend the Sibley or Peterson field guides, each of which have their merits. In National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition all 1,023 bird species to be observed in North America This is it. If you're a serious birder or looking to get deeply into bird-watching, then this is the ultimate field guide to North American birds that you've been hoping for in a single, easily carried volume. For a field guide with features oriented towards beginner bird-watchers we recommend the Sibley or Peterson field guides, each of which have their merits. In National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition all 1,023 bird species to be observed in North America are crammed into approximately 570 color pages. Literally crammed, as some of the illustrations are fairly small, however they're certainly larger on average than those in the Sibley field guides. With over 3,500 illustrations and more than 900 of the latest range maps, NatGeo's latest edition is a worthwhile compromise to keep this an informative yet easy-to-carry volume. Filled to the brim with the latest information on bird species and subspecies, it's sure to be a significant upgrade to one's field guide collection. It also includes enlarged maps at the back of the book covering the ranges of 55 subspecies of interest, though this is paltry compared to the over 500 in each of the Peterson guides (covering Eastern and Western North America individually). One of the most obvious and defining features of NatGeo's latest field guide are the thumb-indexes, much like on high-quality dictionaries and a feature we haven't seen on other field guides. It's very easy to pick up the book and immediately flip to the start of sections on sandpipers, gulls, hawks, flycatchers, thrushes, warblers, and sparrows. Oddly enough ducks do not get their own thumb-index or other identifier, despite the section on ducks being the formal start of the field guide. There are also family names at the top of each page, further sub-dividing each section, although these families are not listed alphabetically by common or scientific name. While the major groupings aren't used in other field guides, it does lend itself to a certain accessibility -- and serious birders will ignore the simplified nomenclature and still be able to jump straight into the specifics or skim through using the families listed at the top of each page. Still, we're sure these groupings will provide the pedants with plenty to squabble over. The descriptions of species are detailed and come with the latest in scientific understanding of these birds, a reason to upgrade to this field guide on its own. Descriptions come with the usual assortment of information on each species including: size approximations, behavior, voices and phonetic calls, seasonal and breeding ranges, comparisons to similar birds, notes on subspecies, and historical sightings (for accidental occurrences). We can't speak to the color accuracy for all the species depicted, but the coloration is vivid and the high quality of the printing makes for extremely detailed illustrations. Seasonal variations in plumage, as well as color-morphs, are described in text and, for select species, given illustrations. Peterson field guides may have more and better depictions of activity and specifically the parts visible only during flight, but the size of the illustrations in NatGeo's latest edition are at least reasonably large, with larger illustrations given to more popular species (birds of prey, woodpeckers, cardinals and allies). A noble effort is made to present illustrations waterfowl as they would be seen in flight. Birds of prey get a mix of illustrations of in-flight and perched. Unfortunately the little brown jobs (LBJs) that are so common and difficult to distinguish, rarely have in-flight depictions. For life-listers, this doesn't make identifying them any easier, but should be a relative non-issue for everyone else. We recommend this book based on its merits for its intended audience which are veteran birders, but this field guide is also an excellent supplementary guide for everyone else. Most useful to beginners will be the visual guide index on the front and back inside covers, providing at-a-glance portraits of a variety of iconic representatives of specific bird families. Closing Thoughts: We strongly suggest NatGeo's latest field guide, however nothing is perfect so let's review what we didn't like and what we noted is missing in comparison to field guides aimed at a different audience: This Field Guide to the Birds of North America does not have a life list, a glossary of terms or a comprehensive appendix on any notable topics that would satisfy inquisitive novice bird watchers. Serious birders won't need an introduction or birds or a primer on bird anatomy, and will already have these features in another resource, so we don't feel that this detracts from the value of this particular guide. It also does not feature a section dedicated to enlarged range maps as the A Field Guide to Birds of Western North America and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America do. Voice descriptions are much less robust than in Sibley field guides, although we expect they will be satisfactory for more experienced birders. The fine print and the grey-colored subtext around some of the bird illustrations printed on glossy pages will make for difficult reading for some people -- and when reading in very high-/low-light conditions. A species index at the back of the book completes the guide. It lists both common and taxonomic naming all in a single alphabetical index. No bolding or other form of highlighting is used to make common species stand out, as in Sibley field guides. There is no life list or pages identifying birds based on silhouettes. Recommendations for Novice or Intermediate Bird Watchers: We recommend the A Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America and Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America field guides specifically to beginner and intermediate bird-watchers and naturalists. Which pair of volumes for North America is best may come down to personal preference, but we can say for certain that National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition is the best and most-detailed single-volume field guide on the market today.

  29. 4 out of 5

    demonslayer666

    I have always really liked science and animals and someday I would like to be a veterinarian. This book was a lot of fun for me to read because it taught me a lot about birds, where they come from, how they look and what perspective I should look at them from. For example, if I had to do a medical procedure on a raven, I would have to put it under very heavy anesthetic so that it wouldn't come back in the middle of the procedure and kill itself accidentally while trying to get away. This book als I have always really liked science and animals and someday I would like to be a veterinarian. This book was a lot of fun for me to read because it taught me a lot about birds, where they come from, how they look and what perspective I should look at them from. For example, if I had to do a medical procedure on a raven, I would have to put it under very heavy anesthetic so that it wouldn't come back in the middle of the procedure and kill itself accidentally while trying to get away. This book also taught me about warbles and what kind of bird they are. Warbles are like finches but more colorful and some of the species are actually so colorful that they blend in with all the reds in the rainforest. If you are a non-colorful species like the ones we find in North America, you would stick out like a sore thumb in the jungle and the jungle species would not blend in very well or camouflage. I learned about Allen's Hummingbird species which is interesting because it's orange which is my favorite color. These birds are native to New Mexico, the coasts of California and Oregon. Their sizes range from 3.75" at the largest to 2.2" or 10cm at the smallest. My other favorite bird was the sparrow because these birds kill their prey the same way that hunters do by swooping down and impaling them on thorns in bushes. I found this interesting because it showed me how intelligent these birds are, especially with how well they clean up after themselves. Overall, they're the opposite of the hummingbirds because they're so violent. Lastly, my other favorite bird - the tanager. In the adult stages, the male is very vibrant so that he can attract mates and lure predators away from the female and the nest. The tanagers are native to Mexico's coastal regions and they grow to about 7.25" to 5.25" at the smallest. Overall, this book was one of my favorite books because it had a lot of information and it had pictures to go with it so that I could identify the birds when we drove to camping trips and for weekend adventures.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Harmon

    ** Marking as “read” not because I KNOW everything contained in this book but because (after five months of ownership) I find myself turning to it again and again and again. It’s simple to utilize, informative, easy for a beginner like me to flip through and diagnose my latest sighting. I’ve turned into a superbly interested birdwatcher, on my deck with my coffee as well as on walks (where this book gets tossed into my backpack frequently). This is a valuable asset in my home and one I’ll contin ** Marking as “read” not because I KNOW everything contained in this book but because (after five months of ownership) I find myself turning to it again and again and again. It’s simple to utilize, informative, easy for a beginner like me to flip through and diagnose my latest sighting. I’ve turned into a superbly interested birdwatcher, on my deck with my coffee as well as on walks (where this book gets tossed into my backpack frequently). This is a valuable asset in my home and one I’ll continue to use for years as I dive a little deeper into the bird-world. ** Really enjoy the section in the front = teaches you the makeup of a bird’s body, explains molting, migration, feeding habits, differences in breeds, etc. - Laid down a well rounded foundation.

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