From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Bird-watchers have relied on the Peterson Guides over the years to identify birds, giving names, habitat, descriptions, and distribution information. However, no guide has gone that additional step to describe what the bird is doing at the time it is being observed. Many scientific articles about birds do describe "what they are doing" in technical terms. Kaufman has translated all this information into layperson's language.
The book is organized so that when a particular page is consulted, it is easy to understand without referrring to other parts of the book. Each family has a brief overview that describes the bird and its feeding, nesting, and displaying characteristics. Additional information is given for the genus, followed by detailed facts about each species. This information includes a full-color photograph; a distribution map; habitat, feeding, nesting, and migration data; and conservation status, all in a concise, easy-to-read text. Illustrations, which were taken from the CD-ROM, are clear but small, with only one per species. Of particular interest is information on certain behavior and movement characteristics, which includes how food is acquired, how young are fed, mating rituals, what the young look like and how soon they leave the nest, and how they interact with other species in the competition for food and nesting sites. Additionally, there may be information on specific species about territory claiming, social aspects, songs and calls, pairing, courtship, eggs, clutch size, incubation, number of broods per year, what they eat, how they find food, molting, roosting, and life span.
Part of the Peterson Natural History Companion series, this is a must-have book to supplement any field guide. It could be used as a general field guide, although it is too big to fit into a coat pocket. It is a good alternative to field guides in a reference collection because it provides expanded information in a convenient, attractive format. Recommended for all bird-watchers and all libraries.