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A Birder's Basic Library: North America

A. E. Wright "Birder and reader"
The list author says: "All you r e a l l y need to be a birder is a notebook and a knowledgeable friend. But the books on this list will help, too."
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition
"Nearly thirty years and six editions in, this remains the North American field guide by which all others are judged. Now includes much more detailed treatment of geographic variation."
National Geographic Complete Birds of North America
National Geographic Complete Birds of North America
"Uses the illustrations of the fifth edition of the Nat Geo guide, with more detail about variation, behavior, and range. An indispensable resource."
The Sibley Guide to Birds
The Sibley Guide to Birds
"A true triumph of information and design. Among the best field guides to any region, this book shows all birds in flight. Its coverage of rarities is less thorough than that of the Nat Geo guide, however. The smaller, Eastern and Western volumes are good, too, and include more information on behavior, but their format made it impossible to reproduce the ingenious design of "big Sibley.""
Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America
"The first field guide to emphasize the usefulness of molt in identification."
Identification Guide to North American Birds, Part I: Columbidae to Ploceidae
Identification Guide to North American Birds, Part I: Columbidae to Ploceidae
"The standard reference for plumages and molts; intended in the first instance for banders and museum workers, but intermediate, advanced, or ambitious birders will find a great deal here to help with field identification, too."
Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part II: Anatidae to Alcidae
Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part II: Anatidae to Alcidae
"Volume II, covering the first half of the checklist. Be sure to read the introductory material for updates on molt terminology."
Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds (Peterson Reference Guides)
Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds (Peterson Reference Guides)
"An excellent introduction to molt, with much material useful in the field."
A Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Birding Challenges and How to Approach Them (Peterson Field Guides Series)
A Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Birding Challenges and How to Approach Them (Peterson Field Guides Series)
"Treatments of two dozen "difficult" species and groups."
Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding (Kaufman Field Guides)
Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding (Kaufman Field Guides)
"A thorough and thoroughly wonderful introduction to birding, with chapters on exemplary problems in identification. Entirely different from the first edition."
Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guides
Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guides
"The benchmark work on North American birds of prey and their identification."
Raptors of Eastern North America: The Wheeler Guides
Raptors of Eastern North America: The Wheeler Guides
"The Eastern volume."
The Shorebird Guide
The Shorebird Guide
"One of the finest guides to any group of birds ever written. You'll learn your waders, but you'll also pick up a horde of tips useful no matter what bird you're looking at."
Peterson Reference Guides: Gulls of the Americas
Peterson Reference Guides: Gulls of the Americas
"Better than Grant or Malling Olsen; excellent for working through the mangy-looking birds eating bread crumbs in a beach parking lot."
Hummingbirds of North America: The Photographic Guide
Hummingbirds of North America: The Photographic Guide
"Unexcelled in its presentation of methods for hummingbird identification. Large, carefully chose images and complete, well-written texts. Nothing else comes close for this group."
A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Peterson Field Guides)
A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Peterson Field Guides)
"A classic, beautifully illustrated with good paintings and good photographs, and an authoritative text."
A Guide to the Identification and Natural History of the Sparrows of the United States and Canada (Natural World)
A Guide to the Identification and Natural History of the Sparrows of the United States and Canada (Natural World)
"The best book available on the New World emberizids; far more useful than the photographic guide that followed."
The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife
The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife
"A delight: gracefully written, accurate, as readable as it is usable."