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Field Guide To Birds Of North America 6th Ed Paperback – 2011

342 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: NATLG (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00745H57K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,984,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 110 people found the following review helpful By David Gersten on November 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another winner from National Geographic. I have every edition of this field guide and consider it the gold standard of guides. There have been some innovative guides in recent years, especially the Sibley with its flight drawings and the Crossley with its multi-photo scenery pages. I wondered whether this new edition would have something worthwhile to keep pace. It delivers with outstanding new range maps for each species that include migration areas and extra range maps for many subspecies. There are also lots of new drawings, new text and field-mark labels. It is a bit more crowded with the labels but it is still professional. This remains the only guide I would compare to the terrific Collins Guide the Europeans have for their birds.

I am very pleased that the quality is like that of the 1st, 2nd ,3rd and 5th editions and not the mass-market 4th. The print job is better than the 5th edition as well. In particular, there was too much grey where there should have been brown hues in the 5th edition. It is a subtle difference but on some species, it is really obvious. The 6th edition corrects the problem. This edition is about 70 pages longer than the 5th edition. It doesn't include the Birding Hot Spots found in the Exclusive 5th Edition or the Identification tip boxes for difficult identification issues found in the Eastern and Western guides release after the 5th edition. Neither of those features was essential and I think they made the right decision to leave them out.

No guide is perfect and so there are still shortcomings with this one. A few of the poor drawings from recent editions have been replaced but a few (night herons and bitterns page) remain a notch below the rest of the book. There are still no under tail drawings of woodwarblers.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey RR Skrentny on November 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always felt that when I started carrying my 5th edition of the Geographic Guide as my main field guide, that I had sort of graduated to the field guide of a serious birding hobbyist. I needed to know what else has been seen as I traveled around the nation, just in case, and with 967 species in the 5th edition, I felt like I was covered just in case. I loved the 5th field guide, though it had some issues with color that I am glad to see fixed in the 6th edition. The 6th edition now covers 990 species seen or expected in the United States, keeping up with the new additions to the ABA lists.

Never before have I pre-ordered a book of any kind, but when I learned that the 6th edition was coming out, I just had to see how "America's #1 Bird Guide" was going to be made better. I did pre-order my copy from Amazon as soon as I was made aware of it's availability, I had it in my hands November 4th, 4 days after its November 1, 2011, publication date. Today I finished a page by page, bird by bird review of the new edition, and I do believe that the folks at National Geographic have made some nice improvements and kept their field guide the best that exists for North American birders.

I am thrilled with the new guide.

Specifically, the first thing one notices is the new maps. They are excellent, detailed and include much more information now with migration ranges noted (two excellent examples are Baird's Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper), with migration routes shown separately for spring and fall. Along with those changes, they also included subspecies ranges for the species where that might be important to know.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ozias on November 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've looked at many field guides whenever I find myself in book stores. This one caught my eye, and I when I learned that a new sixth edition had come out, I got it right away.

While there are many are good bird guides out there, they usually contain pictures and art that don't show the birds from every angle. The information usually isn't that detailed either, or not there at all. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would love to know how to tell the difference between two very similar species like western meadowlarks and eastern meadowlarks.

This book goes way beyond any guide I've ever seen, the information is in-depth and useful, not to mention that they show the top of the bird's wing AND the bottom of it (though unfortunately, this guide doesn't have under-tail pictures...). For some reason, many guides don't show what the bird looks like from the bottom. Which is incredibly silly since many times they flow OVER you and that's all you get to see.

There's been improved migration maps, and new subspecies migration maps, which is incredible. They also have accidental species, which is mind-blowing as well. The beginning of the book teaches you all about how to read and decipher the latin/greek names, the entire anatomy for different species, basic birding identification skills, and more.

I could go on forever about how great this book is, it's like a bird-college text book! I wouldn't settle for any other guide!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Mckenna on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am rating this a four but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't recommend it to any birder. This is a fine guide and anyone who already uses the earlier National Geographic guides will be happy with this one. The drawings are mostly very good, and some of the images, especially the duck pictures are beautiful along with being accurate. Other reviewers have pointed that not all is perfect. Certainly the Winter Wren picture is sub-par. Field marks are indicated by text descriptions a method that I find inferior to the use of arrows in Peterson. I do think the small size of the pictures is a minor limitation that in a crowded market may be a deal killer (I didn't purchase the 5th edition because of the small size of the pictures). There is a lot of information packed in the book and larger images might make sense going forward. None of these objections are critical. What is important is the inconsistent printing. A number of black birds in my copy are just too dark. Other birds, such as the Purple Finch are a bit lighter than one would hope. Would anyone have a problem in the field, no, but it is a quality issue. If the printing were more consistent I would rate it a five.
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