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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region, Revised Edition Paperback – September 27, 1994
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Note: the Eastern Edition generally covers states east of the Rocky Mountains, while the Western Edition covers the Rocky Mountain range and all the states to the west of it.
Top Customer Reviews
First of all, no photograph-based field guide can show the important characteristics needed to identify most birds as clearly as a good illustration can. Next, the only info that accompanies each photograph is the common name of the bird, along with its gender, average size, and a reference to a page number to a section in the back of the book that provides all of the descriptive narrative information for each species. That info includes each bird's physical description, voice (call), habitat, nesting info, and geographic range (with a map by the info -- that's nice). The part that's frustrating for me is that I have to spend time flipping back and forth between the photo section at the front of the book and the info section at the back of the book in order to get the info I'm looking for! While I'm in the field birding, that's a hassle! I therefore much prefer the illustrated format that has pictures and descriptive info of the Peterson Guides to the Audubon guides.
Still, the Audubon guides are useful, though I use mine primarily as a secondary source, and it usually stays inside when I go out -- Peterson is my guide of choice.
I am, by the way, a novice birder myself, and find that the Peterson Guides help me to ID birds faster and with fewer errors than the Audubon guides do.
5 points for photos, but 3 points for ease of use, for 4 points overall.
Good luck,and happy spotting!
Alan Holyoak, Dept of Biology, Manchester College, IN
Being published by the National Audubon Society, you'd expect this field guide to be top-notch, one developed and tested by thousands of birders. Indeed, the photos are very nice, full color and in 'native habitat'. The descriptions are pretty complete - with size, key things to look for, song, hapitat. There's a little map showing range, and the range is also described as well.
The problem is with the layout. All of the pictures are at the front of the book - put into groups by bird type, three to a page. Often there's only one photo of a bird, even though they look different during different years of life or seasons. If you see something that seems it might be right, now you have to go flipping through many pages to track down the actual *information* on that bird. Does it even live where you're looking? Are there other similar birds it might be instead? What are those key features you're supposed to be watching for? By the time you figure any of this out, the bird is probably back in hiding.
It seems with their knowledge of birders and how birders operate, they'd have arranged this book in an easier-to-use fashion. While this is a nice book to have for its lovely pictures, it's not what I grab when I need to bring a field book with me on a trip.
When I find an interesting bird, I would go grab my binoculars and field guide and look it up. I go to the correct catagory and frantically search for the bird. When I find it, it gives me a detailed color picture that helps identify the bird. However, if you want more information, it than refers you to a different page, hundreds of thin pages away. You than need to go and find the page, but by then, the bird is gone. When I do get to the page, it is filled with wonderful detailed information of appearance, voice, habitat, nesting, range, map of habitat, and a brief summary.
The book is nice, but I would recommend buying another one with more organization.
The text descriptions of wonderful, offering detailed information about physical appearance, egg size and number, breeding season, male/female physical differences, migration pattern, and food preferences. One of the most useful descriptions is of the birds' songs. In addition to these "technical" data, every bird has a section of general description where the editors include comments on behavior (for example, telling you how friendly chickadees can be), their history, environmental factors, and the bird's relationship to humans.
Sometimes, the editors are a little too human-oriented in their descriptions. For example, the book accurately describes European Starlings as pests, and mentions that starlings ended up in America because people brought them here from Europe. However, the book loses a golden opportunity to make a comment on the ignorance of introduced species. Likewise, in the description of the Common Crow, the editors mention how they are more numerous now than when settlers first arrived in the United States. However, they fail to explain that there is a connection between human actvity and the rise in crow populations.
This criticism aside, the text descriptions offer some great insights into the lives of the birds, and allows you to see your backyard visitors, or those deep-woods residents, in a whole new light. Anyone who has even a little interest in birds should have this book on hand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love being able to identify the birds at my feeder...easy to look up and all my bird visitors have been in this book!Published 2 days ago by Pam Thompson
Was exactly was it was supposed to be. Great book very usefull came in handy for learning about the birds near my home.Published 2 days ago by Aaron Blankenship
A book to carry with you on any bird walks, well bound and great color pages.Published 4 days ago by Albert Christensen
I already own this field guide. I bought this one for a relative. She is in NY state and I could not help her identify some birds that were at her feeder this past winter. Read morePublished 2 months ago by LYDIA Z