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Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding (Kaufman Field Guides) Vinyl Bound – April 19, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


If birding is more to you than simply pinning a name to a bird, this is the book you'll turn to. The Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding is nothing short of Kenn Kaufman's wisdom and teaching skills crystallized into 448 insight-packed pages. Not only will you love this book, you'll learn from it. -- Pete Dunne

Yes, it entails some dedicated reading, instead of just trying to match up pictures -- but any birder who invests time reading Advanced Birding is going to reap enormous benefits in the field. -- Scott Weidensaul

I think this is one of the most important bird books of our generation.  A worthy sequel, to be sure, to Kenn's 1990 classic by the same name. I stand in awe. -- Ted Floyd, Editor, Birding

Anyone, from beginner to expert, wanting to improve upon their bird identification skills should study the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding.  Being able to learn from Kaufman is a pleasure and an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up.  -- Grant McCreary, The Birder's Library

There is no one out there, no matter how grizzled a veteran, who won't learn something from this book. And beginners and intermediate birders should not let the title scare them off, either: ... [Advanced Birding] is for every birder who wants to identify, understand, and enjoy more of the birds she encounters.  -- Rick Wright on the ABA blog

From the Back Cover

Expert Kenn Kaufman helps active birders improve their skills
Birders can memorize hundreds of details and still not be able to identify birds if they don't really understand what's in front of them.
Today birders have access to almost too much information, and their attempts to identify birds can be drowned out by excess detail. The all-new "Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding" takes a different approach, clarifying the basics and providing a framework for learning about each group. Overall principles of identification are explained in clear language, and ten chapters on specific groups of birds show how these principles can be applied in practice.
Anyone with a keen interest in identifying birds will find that this book makes the learning process more effective and more enjoyable, and that truly understanding what we see and hear can make birding more fun.

One of the world's best-known bird experts, Kenn Kaufman is the originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, which includes books on birds, butterflies, mammals, and insects. He has also written "Lives of North American Birds" and two birding memoirs, "Flights Against the Sunset" and the classic "Kingbird Highway." A frequent contributor to birding magazines such as "Birder's World, Bird Watcher's Digest, " and "WildBird, " Kenn is also a field editor for "Audubon." He and his wife, Kimberly, live in Oak Harbor, Ohio.


Product Details

  • Series: Kaufman Field Guides
  • Vinyl Bound: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547248326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547248325
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kenn Kaufman is a legend among birders. A field editor for AUDUBON and a regular contributor to every major birding magazine, he is the youngest person ever to receive the Ludlow Griscom Award, the highest honor of the American Birding Association. His natural history pursuits have taken him to all seven continents, but he has made a special study of North American birds. His books include KINGBIRD HIGHWAY, LIVES OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS, the PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO ADVANCED BIRDING, in addition to originating the KAUFMAN FIELD GUIDE series, which includes books on birds, butterflies, mammals, and insects. He resides in Rocky Ridge, Ohio.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Vinyl Bound Verified Purchase
BASICS: softcover, 2011, 448pp; 550+ medium-sized color photos show identification points noted in the text; 10 pairings of similar species cover 46 species; additional species addressed more broadly in the various chapters; majority of the material focuses on how a birder examines certain groups of birds to become more advanced in his observation skills.

This new book is an extension and not a replacement of the author's earlier book "Advanced Birding" from 1990. The subtitle of this new book (Understanding What You See and Hear) is a clue to the different angle taken with this book. Although it offers some focused identification material on similar species, the amount is significantly less than the previous book. Instead, the majority of this book gives us a broader view of the birds. It also points out difficult-to-identify groups of birds that challenge us to develop a more advanced focus of birding.

This book provides detailed identification notes on 10 distinct pairings of similar birds, comprised of 46 species (e.g., scaup, loons, Accipiters, Empidonax). In contrast, the prior book has 29 distinct pairings covering 88 species. All the birds mentioned in this newer book are also found in the original book.

Within this book are over 550 small to medium-sized color photographs that show key points mentioned in the text. These photos may show the entire bird or, sometimes just the head, wing, or bill to help emphasize identification details. Another 30 black-and-white illustrations show additional ID points.

It seems the mission of this book is to serve as a primer to learn what is necessary to become an advanced birder.
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Format: Vinyl Bound Verified Purchase
Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding (Kaufman Field Guides)
Not so much a field guide as a text. I like this book very much. Kaufman shares his years of experience, considerable knowledge and wisdom on the process of identifying birds. His emphasis is on understanding what you see and hear rather than on an exhaustive discussion of field marks. Probably not a book that would appeal to most beginning birders but a wonderful book for all birders who want to learn how to learn about birds.Much of the material is specific and detailed yet Kaufman manages to describe the general principles for understanding the appearance, behavior and vocalization of birds.Very nice description of anatomical structure, plumage, habitat, songs and behavior as these relate to the challenge of identifying birds. I'm enjoying it and finding it very helpful. This book is a great compliment to any field guide and a "must have" for birders intent on developing their skills and knowledge. Highly recommended.
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Format: Vinyl Bound
In this review I will first say why I think this book is incredibly useful, and then I will compare it to the earlier edition, and explain why I think it is a huge improvement over the previous edition. This is not a book for everyone, but if you are serious about ID-ing birds, for example, if you want to survey birds for eBird (like I do, and like I'd recommend doing if you want to help your birding hobby contribute to advancing science and conservation efforts), this book is indispensible.


I found this book to be outstanding at exactly what one would expect it to be useful for from its name: helping casual birders move in the direction of expert birders. It will not make you an expert, it merely points you in the direction of how to do so.

I find this book to be very deep and philosophical. The book repeatedly emphasizes being comfortable with uncertainty, and being very cautious before jumping to conclusions. There are a lot of life lessons in it, ones that I have found to ring true with me not just in birding and bird identification, but in many other aspects of life, basically, anything that involves uncertainty and limits to our knowledge.

What I like best about this book is that it seems to describe virtually every ID pitfall that I've ever struggled with as a birder. It does not just cover technical details, but it covers everything from limits in our perception, to our own psychological biases. Kaufman seems to understand a great deal not only about how the brain works, but how the human psyche works as well, on top of an incredibly deep understanding of the technical details of bird plumage. And these different aspects are woven together into a coherent narrative that is captivating, easy to read, and informative.
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By 5/0 on September 26, 2011
Format: Vinyl Bound Verified Purchase
"Field Guide to Advanced Birding" by Kenn Kaufman

This is an incredible book!

Kenn Kaufman is recognized world-wide as a leading authority - maybe THE leading authority - on wild bird identification. You will read only a short distance into this book before you realize he is also an incredibly gifted instructor. You will also quickly find that in his book he has somehow combined a huge wealth of professional knowledge and skill with a tremendous amount of common sense and excellent observation to produce a highly readable, highly understandable, highly instructive goldmine of education for anyone who really wants to learn about the birds we share this continent with. And one of the best things he does is point out (quite correctly) that birders come in all degrees of interest and skill and means, and they all ALL important because it is the backyard feeder-watchers who contribute the most new raw data to the field of Ornithology every year. Their information is the bedrock upon which enjoyment and protection of birds is based everywhere for everyone.
"Field Guide to Advanced Birding" is indeed "advanced" but Kaufman's skill as a teacher makes that advancement easy and available enough for even the most causal birder to master. Yet even long time "experienced" birders are going to have their eyes opened by Chapter 2, guaranteed!
Kenn Kaufman's "Field Guide to Advanced Birding" is unquestionably a classic of Birding literature and it's had to imagine any serious birder who wouldn't gain a world of good knowledge from it. This will be one of the books in your Birding library that you won't loan to ANYBODY.
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