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Birds of North America: A Guide To Field Identification (Golden Field Guide Series) Paperback


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Birds of North America: A Guide To Field Identification (Golden Field Guide Series) + Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification, Revised and Updated (Golden Field Guide Series) + Wildflowers (Golden Guide)
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Product Details

  • Series: Golden Field Guide Series
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press; Revised and Updated edition (April 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582380902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582380902
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Golden Guides first appeared in 1949 and quickly established themselves as authorities on subjects from Natural History to Science. Relaunched in 2000, Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press feature modern, new covers as part of a multi-year, million-dollar program to revise, update, and expand the complete line of guides for a new generation of students.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to all bird watchers.
Carolyn E. VanBruggen
Still, overall, I have always liked this field guide simply because it is so very easy to carry and to use.
Douglas A. Greenberg
The updates in this book are wonderful compared to the old version.
Fred H. Oppenhuisen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Douglas A. Greenberg VINE VOICE on April 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Golden field guide, *Birds of North America* has been a favorite companion for countless birders since it was first published in the late 1960's. It has the virtues of being nationally comprehensive, easy to follow (illustrations, maps, songs, and descriptions are provided on the same two pages), and perhaps best of all, small enough to carry in a jacket pocket. It also uses an interesting and highly useful visual "sonagram" approach to conveying information about bird vocalizations.
Unfortunately, however, the ornithological powers that be are constantly lumping and splitting species, rendering field guides at least somewhat obsolete overnight. Consequently, these books must be updated periodically so as to be optimally useful to birders. The Golden guide was last updated during the 1980s, and was long overdue for a makeover.
Happily, this has finally been provided. And indeed, this revised version of the guide is (for the moment) up to date regarding the various lumps and splits that have gone into effect over the past decade. Some of the "splits" are fully illustrated, as with the Canyon vs. California (formerly Brown) towhee. Some, however, are only mentioned in the text, and sometimes all too briefly. It's probably ok not to have a separate illustration of the smaller Gunnison species of the Sage grouse, but a separate illustration of the California gnatcatcher surely should have been provided. Similarly, the somewhat larger and brighter Island scrub jay should have been depicted separately from its relatives the scrub and Florida jays.
Certainly, the publishers of this revised version of the Golden guide have made an earnest effort to provide an updated and attractive entry into the increasingly crowded birding field guide competition.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. Mcclain on August 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have carried the older edition of this bird book for a number of years, and purchased this new one as the old one had become so dog eared as to be embarassing. Also we knew that many species ranges were changing, and wanted to be up to date on that information. The new edition has the same format (down to the exact page) as the previous, and same illustrations. The many advantages of this guide include:
1) It has every bird you are likely to see in North America 2) Everything about a species is on one page, including illustration, description, range map, and sonogram of song (for many species) 3) Nice comparison charts of similar and confusing species 4) Range maps include migration date lines 5) True pocket size -- you will carry this book with you in the field!
The new edition also has updated nomenclature for species that the bird expert powers-that-be keep changing on us. It also has updated range maps for those species whose ranges are changing. It is printed on a slicker stock than the previous (only time will tell if this is better). It also has a new "quick" index which is handy for locating birds by generic name (crows).
But there are some disappointments.
1) It is probably 95% a reprint of the previous edition, both with respect to descriptions and (particularly) illustrations 2) The little check boxes to mark off birds you have seen are missing from the new edition -- surely that was an oversight(?) 3) They did not correct the one thing that was a true weakness of the previous edition, that the range maps are small and rather difficult to interpret. How much easier it would be if the US state borders were overprinted on these little range maps (or for that matter Canadian provinces and Mexican states)???
But of course, it is still our favorite -- if you have only one bird book, and you want to carry it in your pocket, this is the one to buy.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How they can sell this book at such a low price is beyond me. Lots of quality here.
Look at the cover with the buntings: it's not just some recycled art from the interior, but a specially painted picture just for the cover. This is part of the value that the authors offer you.
More importantly, the illustrations really capture what the birds look like in real life -- to my mind better than other paintings in guides and a thousand times better than photos -- and the text is clear and to the point.
Sections that showcase winter plumage of gulls or peeps or that illustrate the heads of warblers or sparrows have the page numbers right next to each picture so you can just whip over to bird in question if you need more information.
I especially like the fact that the range maps are right next to the bird's picture so you don't have to thumb to some inconvenient map index the back of the book only to find that the bird is never present in your area. Everything is right there to help you make a quick identification.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
There are bigger and more expensive bird guides but none pack as much information into such a portable, easy to use, inexpensive book as this. I've used it as a casual birder for several years. Among my favorite features are the taxonomic indicators (blue squares and circles indicating Order, Family and Sub Family or Genus), little bits of natural history (that some advanced guides assume you already know) and comparison silhouettes. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a first bird guide.
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