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Birds of California Field Guide (Our Nature Field Guides) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2003


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Mass Market Paperback, August 1, 2003
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Frequently Bought Together

Birds of California Field Guide (Our Nature Field Guides) + National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
Price for both: $29.15

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Product Details

  • Series: Our Nature Field Guides
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Adventure Publications; Our Nature Field Guides edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591930316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591930310
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

The book is 4 3/8" X 6" X 7/8".
fishhooksandbobbers
I'm not an avid bird watcher, just more casual, and i feel this book is really great for casual bird watching.
Corinne M. Delvey
This field guides make bird watching and identifying birds so easy.
Mary Jo Kelly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By fishhooksandbobbers on May 23, 2004
I stumbled on this book when I went to look at another bird field guide. I'm glad I compared guides before making a purchase. Needless to say I purchased this one over the one I intended to buy.
There are many reasons why I like this book: It's consise and it's easy to identify birds; this guide contains photographs not drawings; the book is compact.
Being true to its title, it contains only birds you'll find in California. You don't have to peruse through hundreds of birds to find the one you're looking for. A bird can be found either by its predominate color or an indexed listing of names. Each decription contains information about the bird's size, decription of male, female and juvenile, nest, eggs, incubation, fledging, migration, food, comparision to similar birds and additional author notes. So far I have been able to identify every bird I have looked up.
One of the best features is that the book contains color photographs and not drawings of the birds. I really do think this is why my 5 year old daughter can state with confidence which bird we're watching. For those birds that are sexually dimorphic, the author includes photos of both the male and female. Each is cross reference by color too. There are also inset photos of the juveniles. With the photos you can percisely identify each characteristic of the bird and takes much of the guess work out of identification.
The book is 4 3/8" X 6" X 7/8". About half the height of many other field guides and alot thinner making it much more portable.
Probably the most important reason to purchase this book is that you'll use it.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By East Bay Vinny on November 5, 2006
This book is small enough for field work, yet contains a great deal of information. The full-color photographs have insets which show juvenile, seasonal, or sexually dimorphic plumage where appropriate, as well as showing some birds in action shots: a hawk soaring, a willet showing his colors, etc. The species information is concise, readable, and relevant, with color-coded range maps and bulleted information on size, weight, color, food, eggs/incubation/fledging, similar species, and migration information for hundreds of different species, all in a standard one-page per species format. The "Stan's Notes" contain interesting specifics are not included in the bullet points.

My only problem with this book is the organization of the species by color. If the reader sees a very small black and brown bird, for example, they will potentially have to thumb through dozens of black birds and then brown birds, some of them very large, or water birds, or birds of prey, or from a different part of the state. I'd rather not spend my time in the field poring through pages of ducks, owls, doves, and eagles trying to figure out what species of thrush i'm looking at. Also, if a species has enough sexual or seasonal dimorphism in the color of their plumage, it may fall into two or more different color categories. While this field guide does cross-reference these by page number, that makes for even more page turning.

This is a very good field guide, but a more granular organization, perhaps by general bird type (songbird, bird or prey, etc.) within geographical area (NorCal, desert, Sierra, etc.) would have made the look-up process more concise. As it is, plan on taking plenty of Post-it bookmarks along with this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kersi Von Zerububbel VINE VOICE on August 10, 2006
Verified Purchase
This is the BEST "bird book" for use in California. I have used the Audobon books (very good) as well as other guides but by far for amateurs like myself this is the one.

First off, quickly getting to the portion of the book is easy because things are color-coded. Second, the contents have pictures as opposed to drawings or worse small pictures with poor resolution. Third, the handy size of the book makes it practical to carry in one's cargo pant pocket. Fourth, the birds shown are common to California so one has to do a lot less wading through pages to find what you are looking for. Fifth, not all California birds are shown - this is good and bad. The good being less useless material the bad being you do miss some specimens.

All in all for the price this is a great value.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Winning TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 22, 2009
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I'm not crazy about any birding guide from Petersen's to National Geographic because by the time you've found a sketch, the bird and your recollection is gone. "Birds of California" has one thing going for it - it's photography - but it fails as a guide. Two things are wrong: the photos/birds are classified or sorted by color, and bird colors change from season to season. Further, the authors are off in terms of color, e.g., a mourning dove is not predominantly brown, it's gray and perhaps tan when in breeding plumage.

Second, there are more than 160 or 180 bird species in California. There are probably 200+ in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

I disagree with the reviewer who doesn't think one should buy a book that covers only one area (California) but, while birds don't stop at the border, I didn't want another book that covers eastern North America or the Southwest etc. Besides, I already own seven guides. What I need is a human guide along with me who points and says, "Oh, look, a western tanager!"

BUT, I bought this book primarily for the photography. It is well done in that respect and I needed photos of the more populous birds because that's what I see most.

I'm beginning to think that the one thing that would satisfy all my needs - and that of any birder - would be an iPhone App which probably already exists. Unfortunately, an iPhone could end up costing a library of books what with monthly charges as well as the base price. But that's me.
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