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A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America (Peterson Field Guides(R)) Hardcover – January 17, 2002

46 customer reviews

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Hardcover, January 17, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Besides being objects of wonder, hummingbirds, says Sheri L. Williamson in the Peterson Field Guide: Hummingbirds of North America, are unique to the New World, range in size from the smallest warm-blooded animal (Cuba's Bee Hummingbird) to outsizing songbirds (South America's Giant Hummingbird), can fly backwards and side to side, and still defy category among ornithological types. The habits, habitats, migratory patterns, physical traits, diet, mating practices, where to find them in short, all the information that a good wildlife guide offers are the stuff of Williamson's book. Clear, engaging prose and 180 full color photographs make this a natural for birdwatchers everywhere.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Turtleback edition.


"It needs to be on the shelf and in the pocket of every bird watcher in North America." Bird Watcher's Digest

"Williamson's book is a comprehensive treatment, accurate enough to satisfy professionals and accessible to the lay reader." Birding

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Product Details

  • Series: Peterson Field Guides
  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Printing edition (January 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618024956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618024957
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,251,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Naturalist, ornithologist, and birder.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2002
Format: Turtleback
This book is the latest edition in a long line of Peterson Field Guides. As such it has a lot to live up to. It is written in a similar format to the series most recent work on the Warblers of North America (John Dunn and Kimball Garrett, 1997) and includes the same basic categories of description, behaviour, habitat, similar species, status and conservation, and subspecies and taxonomic relationships in the species accounts.

The book covers over 30 species of hummingbirds that regularly occur in the United States or have the potential for occurence as vagrants from Mexico. It is entirely a photographic guide which has both advantages and disadvantages from paintings or illustrations.
Its a good 1st start, but there are some issues that need to be addressed. First, the photographs for each species are somewhat small, especially those that depict live birds in the field. This and the low-quality of some photos often obscure important identification features. On the other hand the plates showing close-up photographs of spread tail patterns and the head and bill are especially benefical (even if the birds are unnaturally depicted held in the hand). These characters are extremely useful in species identification, and I know of other guide that shows them so well (I have yet to look at Steve Howell's book on Hummingbirds, so I can't comment on that book).
The book continues the Peterson tradition of using arrows to point out important field characters. However, there seems to be a disparity between the photographs and the accompanying text adjacent to the plates. The end result is often confusion and leaves the reader trying to figure out what is specifically important about a particular feature.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2002
Format: Turtleback
This book is wonderful!! I just finished reading it. I'd been waiting so long for a hummingbird book with photos of the females and the immature birds. In the past, I've had so much trouble looking through art drawings of hummingbirds. Now we have photos of each bird to help with identification in the field.
This book is a must-have for hummingbird enthusiasts! Make sure to read the text too, because tons of fabulous facts and trivia are included. For instance, females of some species sing, and females outnumber the male hummers most of the time, but in one instance a female was killed and a male was seen feeding the babies she'd left behind! How interesting!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Shuff on September 12, 2009
Format: Turtleback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book along with two others when my grandchildren and I decided we needed more background on the hummingbirds who visit my feeders every day. There is an abundance of wonderful info on the hummingbird types and habitats in this book. The pictures are exceptional. I especially love the small size...making it easy to handle while we're outside. After using the book, we're on the search for a hummingbird nest in our nearby maple tree. It seems to be the place where most of the hummingbirds perch between feedings. The book talks about the nests and how they come back to the same next year after year. Very, very interesting.

If you are buying only one book on hummingbirds, this would be the one to buy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Thompson on September 2, 2008
Format: Turtleback Verified Purchase
We just wanted a book to teach us the basics about Hummingbirds & help us to learn one type from the next. This book is working out very well for us so far. Already we have learned that what appeared to be a 'baby' hummingbird with the naked eye, was actually a moth via binoculars and the moth was shown in the book~! The book is well made, very nice pictures, small enough to leave on a kitchen counter or drawer for easy access and user friendly. I recommend this book for anyone looking to learn about Hummingbirds.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 4, 2007
Format: Turtleback
As stated, it is difficult to go wrong with and of the Peterson Field Guides. This work is certainly no exception. Do be warned though, if you are a beginning birder, that NO field guide can meet all needs. This guide, like others, must be supplemented with as many different guides as possible. In this case, I might recommend Howell's wonderful work.

That being said, you certainly need to add this one to your collection. This work covers the thirty or so species found in the U.S. along with several that may or may not be seen. The range maps are great, but again, another warning to the newcomer to this wonderful pastime. The range of many of birds found in the U.S. in changing, almost at a yearly rate. We can go on forever as to why this is occurring, but it never-the-less is. As the natural habitat of these amazing creatures is shrinking, so are the bird populations.

The photographs in this book are a bit small and the quality is not what I would like, but the photographs are quite adequate, particularly if they are supplemented with other guides. The information found in the text is quite informative and accurate, as are the range maps, as far as we know (see above paragraph). There is much good information in this book concerning behavior, nesting habits and feeding patterns. This is certainly a book I would not want to be without when out in the field specifically looking for this particular family of birds. Recommend this one highly.
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