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National Geographic Complete Birds of North America Hardcover – November 15, 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America + National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition + National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic Backyard Guides)
Price for all three: $56.45

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792241754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792241751
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Birders rejoice! National Geographic has come through once again with a volume that libraries and bird enthusiasts will welcome to their shelves. Ornithologist and illustrator Alderfer is the general editor of this fine resource that, as he acknowledges, is too large to be a field guide, although many may throw it in their bags while birding. Described as a "companion to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America," the book pulls together a remarkable amount of information into what can only be described as one of the finest one-volume reference works ever published on North American birds.

The organization will be familiar to bird aficionados everywhere. Each of the 82 avian families is treated in an individual section that begins with a brief essay covering the special characteristics of the family in terms of structure, behavior, plumage, distribution, taxonomy, and conservation. Each genus is then taken in turn; 962 species in total are described. Species entries include outstanding illustrations of each distinctive phase, gender, variant, and subspecies where such illustrations will provide assistance in identification. Clear and updated distribution maps are included. Occasional sidebars offer information on differentiating similar species and subspecies as well as other interesting details about a particular bird or group of birds. Directly aimed at helping birders, the text for each species pays special attention to distinctive characteristics and offers helpful advice for identification. Comprehensiveness is excellent, and there is no reason to doubt the editor's claim that the book includes every resident and established variant through September 2005.

Alderfer and National Geographic have produced a volume that, though certainly not as comprehensive as Cornell University's Birds of North America [http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA], rivals and often surpasses the Audubon Society's Sibley Guide to Birds (Knopf, 2000). Enthusiastically recommended for most types of libraries and collections. Jeff Kosokoff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jonathan Alderfer, a widely published author and field guide illustrator, is well known in the birding community for his expertise as a field ornithologist and his knowledge of North American birds. He has served as a general consultant and an art consultant for the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (4th edition) and is the Associate Editor of Birding, the magazine of the American Birding Association.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recomend this book for anyone looking to ID birds in there own backyard.
Stephanie Boen
This book will be used at home to get more information about a bird that simply can't be included in any reasonably sized field guide.
J. Guild
So I gave this book to her for christmas and she just loves it, she thanked me so I am thanking you.
jojo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
National Geographic have done it again.When it comes to Field Guides for the birds of North America,none surpass their (Nat. Geo.) most popular "Field Guide to the Birds of North America.It was first published in 1983 with 295,000 copies.It took the birding world by storm and immediately became the favorite.I can't think of a Birder who hasn't got a copy,for the simple reason there is no better overall choice.Since first appearing,it's now in it's 4th Edition and a total of 1,565,000 copies.Also a 5th Edition is planned for 2006.Each new edition is an update with a small number of rare birds being added plus other updates.In spite of the new edition,the earlier editions are still very good and useful.These guides are manufactured with the highest quality so as to stand tremendous use and abuse in the field.See my review of this book dated February 7,2005.

So now we get something new from National Geographic which I expect to be just as popular.It is intended as 'companion' to the above field guide.It is a much larger book,being 7" by 12" and 2" thick,much too big and heavy to carry in the field.This book will be used at home to get more information about a bird that simply can't be included in any reasonably sized field guide.It covers all birds found in North America,including Greenland.There are 4,000 illustrations covering sexes,seasonal plumages,variations,range maps,migration maps and just about anything a Birder would want.It does an excellent job of showing how to differentiate between similar species.There are also 150 stunning color photographs of birds which include the location and month the photo was taken.The book is extremely well made;has excellent paper,printing and color rendition;and has 664 pages.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Henry B. Williams on July 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book has excellent content, but the first printing had the stiff binding that wouldn't allow the book to open fully, making it very difficult to read. The second printing has a more flexible spine where the pages are just stuck to it. After four months of very casual use, the pages began falling out. This is the poorest bound book that I have ever seen.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This new book published by National Geographic, "Complete Birds of North America: Companion to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America," edited by Jonathan Alderfer, is a must-have book for bird watchers-yes, even backyard birders.

The National Geographic's "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" has long been a field guide of choice-it's all about the text, rather than the illustrations in this guide.

The "Geo" guide offers fine artwork, as do many other field guides, but the clincher to making a positive identification is found in the textual descriptions of the birds in the "Geo" more frequently than in any other guide. And it's the text in the new companion that makes this book so special, and worth every penny of the $35 price.

Each of the 82 bird families, 962 species, found on the continent north of Mexico, plus islands within 200 miles of the coast with the exception of Greenland, opens with a photograph of a bird representing the family and a general essay about the family. Topics covered include the family's general behavior and distribution, among other details.

For instance, under "taxonomy" for skuas, gulls, terns and skimmers, recent genetic work shows that "skuas and jaegers are found to be more closely related to the alcids than to the gulls." Such information adds a new dimension to birding, making us think anew about the birds we observe so casually.

The artwork of the individual species displays seasonal plumages and different poses of the birds as they might be seen in the field.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The single most noticeable thing about this book is how poorly it was manufactured. The spine seems to be made from steel making it impossible to ever fully open the book and an exercise in frustration to read. This problem is greatly exacerbated by the fact that the text runs way down into the deep dark recesses of the crevasse created by the horrible binding. The actaully printing however is very good. The pictures are clear with good color and the paper is of high quality. This makes it even more of a shame that the binding is so bad.

The actual content of the book is quite good. Most of the illustrations were taken from the National Geographic Field Guide as were the maps. The maps have been increased in size which is a definite help. Every species accepted by the ABA is covered with its own write-up. Not surprisingly, some of the rarer species receive much less of a write-up then the regular ones.

In the end I believe that the poor production qualities fatally flaw the book and can only recommend to the bird book obsessed like myself.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Stalnaker on February 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful book content. Horrible quality control. The binding split the entire length of the book after just a few uses. Now, the pages are falling out. Incredibly poor quality for such a respected organization.
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