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Mammals of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618153136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618153138
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,443,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Even renowned birder Kaufman admits that sighting a "mammal trumps everything else" when observing nature in the field. To help naturalists identify those warm-blooded animals that cross their paths, he has teamed up with nature photographers Nora and Rick Bowers to present this comprehensive field reference for all 450 species of wild mammals known to occur in the United States and Canada. As in his earlier innovative guides (Birds of North America and Butterflies of North America), the touchstone is the digitally enhanced photography (all 1,200 images are edited to eliminate shadows, to correct colors and to resize for easy comparisons among species), the bulk of which the Bowerses shot during their 30 years of wildlife study. For quick reference, the mammals are subdivided into 15 categories, like "Hoofed Mammals," "Mice and Rats" or "Dogs, Cats, Bears," with color-coded tabs and a pictorial index. Each entry includes a photograph of the mammal on the right-hand page with an average weight and length, while a brief description of its habitat, behavior, scientific and common names, and a range chart appear on the corresponding left-hand page. In some cases, the authors have also included a sketch of the animal's tracks, or pictures of it during multiple seasons—the Arctic hare, for example, is shown molting from a mottled brown in the summer to snow white in the winter. For more in-depth information, the authors list books and online sources; however, this compact volume's encyclopedic approach to identifying mammals makes it an indispensable field resource for amateur nature enthusiasts.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. L Wanner on August 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
After a disappointing look through other mammal field guides, I came across this little gem. Instead of illustrations it uses photos (except for the whales, some illustrations). I almost passed on it because I wasn't used to seeing these kinds of photographs in a field guide: they are digitally edited and have the appearance of being cut out and pasted onto the white pages. However, it soon became clear that the photos are of exceptional quality and could beat out the competetion as far as completeness of subject matter. For example: there are about fifty photos of chipmunks; there are photos of both morphs of the Arctic Fox in summer and winter. Two variations of the blue phase are shown in summer coat. The pups for both colors are included.

The book is designed well, with the text most of the time to the left of the corresponding pictures. Fun, interesting, informative.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By IndyDon on July 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book and is a worthy addition to the collection of all naturalists, mammalogists, and people interested in nature. Photos don't always work as well as illustrations in field guides but the Kaufman Focus Guides have rectified this situation by digital manipulation of the photos. Some larger species (whales, porpoises, and dolphins) are illustrated but also include photos. In addition to the very good photo images, species accounts appear to be well-detailed and current. One of the strong points of this field guide is that all information for a species is before your eyes; no flipping like in some other mammal field guides. The photo images are on the right side of the page along with common name and weight and measurement (non-metric). On the left side is the common and scientific names, species account, range map, and an illustration of one footprint for most of the larger, terrestrial mammals. The species accounts includes information on differentiating between similar species. Many species have multiple photos which is helpful and the young of many larger mammals are depicted. The worst of the photos (such as Alaska Marmot and Alpine Chipmunk) are still good but only consist of one image each. In my opinion, this is the new mammal field guide standard.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tim Martin VINE VOICE on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
A brief jargon filled synopis:
This is a very good field guide. The illustrations (actually manipulated photographs) are bright and sharp and field marks are easily distinguished.
The fact that the range maps are placed within the text (not a seperate section) makes it easy to eliminate species and arrive quickly at the mammal you are looking at.
The species accounts are informative without being wordy and the similar species are dealt with thoroughly.
The plethora of mice and shrew species are dealt with adequatley. The basic message (at least with shrews) is if you want to be sure of your identifaction, check the dental records!
I am very happy with this field guide. It is much, much better than the Peterson field guide series edition. The writing is intelligent and interesting. A great deal of natural history is included in the species accounts, so the book makes for good reading.
I am sure that mammalogists will find numerous quibbles with this book. But I am not a mammalogist. At heart I am a birder who enjoys looking at mammals when I run across them. This book is perfect for quickly identifying what chipmunk is yelling at you or for sorting out what member of the weasel family just ran over your foot.
If you are looking for a field guide to throw in your car along side all the other ones----this is yet. Enjoy.
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