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Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (Peterson Field Guides) Paperback – August 28, 2008
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In celebration of the centennial of Roger Tory Peterson's birth comes a historic collaboration among renowned birding experts and artists to preserve and enhance the Peterson legacy. This new book combines the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds and Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds into one volume, filled with accessible, concise information and including almost three hours of video podcasts to make bird watching even easier.
• 40 new paintings
• Digital updates to Peterson's original paintings, reflecting the latest knowledge of bird identification
• All new maps for the most up-to-date range information available
• Text rewritten to cover the U.S. and Canada in one guide
• Larger trim size accommodates range maps on every spread
• Contributors include: Michael DiGiorgio, Jeff Gordon, Paul Lehman, Michael O'Brien, Larry Rosche, and Bill Thompson III
• Includes URL to register for access to video podcasts
Excerpts from Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America
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Top Customer Reviews
The book's size is the first change that will be noticed. It is now probably too large to carry into the field. However, the increased size means that the plates are less crowded, and the art can be reproduced in a larger size. This allows the art to be better appreciated and studied.
Unless you are extremely familiar with Peterson's art, you won't notice many changes on the plates. But there have in fact been many. The most extensive changes have been in the form of digital enhancements to Peterson's art. These are touch-ups and corrections to make the bird on the page look more like the bird in the field. Thankfully, these enhancements have been artfully done, and do not stand out. In virtually every case they have indeed improved the image of every species that I'm familiar with.
There are also entirely new paintings, contributed by Michael O'Brien. Some, like the Himalayan Snowcock, are new species that have never before been included in a Peterson guide. But some previously included birds have been completely replaced by new paintings. These have been done in Peterson's style and some are very difficult to pick out. However, many are fairly obvious. They are not bad by any means, just different, and that difference can be jarring.
Like the art, the text has also been extensively enhanced and updated. For the most part, this consists of editorial changes such as word usage.Read more ›
The latest edition of the guide melds East and West and does a great deal to upgrade coverage of Western species through enlarged maps and improved digital renderings.
My problem with the Peterson series has been occasionally inaccurate renderings of some common common species -- the Barred Owl is one example -- which might cause a novice to misidentify an individual in the field.
Many bird enthusiasts purchase and use a variety of field guides because each has its strengths and liabilities. Sibley is the strongest on artistic renderings. Peterson is the best for species differentiation. Smithsonian's excels because of its bird-call DVD. For anyone who wants an all-in-one, National Geographic's Fifth Edition is probably a best bet.
As for the podcast benefits advertised on the cover -- they are continually available to bird-lovers on the net at Roger Tory Peterson Institute's site without a book purchase.
One of te best perks of purchasing this book is a free, one-year membership in The Roger Tory Institute in Jamestown, New York.
I purchased this volume as a tribute to the series and because so many of the renderings of species are excellent. I also appreciate the fact that all maps have been enlarged so that old people like me can see them.
Production values for the book are superb, without question the best field-guide binding available in print. While the paper stock has some annoying opacity, it really doesn't get in the way.
Diurnal raptor fans should look elsewhere -- Brian Wheeler's guides are a good choice. Owl fans should reach for Lynch or Johnsgard.
More than worth the price for its editorial strength and production values.
Now I do have a few points to make that are directed at the book's value as a field guide in 2008, and my opinion here is that a rating of 4-stars (or perhaps even 3) is more appropriate. The "trim size" is indeed larger than previous, by about an inch on a side, bringing the height to just one-half inch less than the Sibley Guide (regularly criticized as too large to carry in the field). The art is less crowded for sure, but portability suffers. The paintings are for the most part the exact same as earlier editions, with frequent rearrangements (digitally performed) to account for the East/West combination and taxonomy modifications. New paintings by Michael O'Brien are inserted and are virtually indistinguishable from RTP's own work - a very high compliment to Mr. O'Brien, if you ask me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful guide. Beautifully illustrated. Lots of information.Published 1 month ago by Diane S. Oconnell
My wife is a bird watcher, and I wanted to have my own book when she shows me a new bird. It is probably the best book on the market concerning the Birds of North America.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is on the verge of being too large to be a field guide. It does have beautiful illustrations of every bird. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Drew
Great paper, beautiful pictures, the size is much nicer than the little field guides with lots more information - I am very pleased with it.Published 2 months ago by Shelly
Excellent compilation with superb photos and much information, well laid-out, great gift for the bird lover, novice or expert.Published 6 months ago by Dana P
I am a serious birder with copies of almost all of the available Field Guides to the birds for North America including Sibley’s and NatGeo’s sixth edition. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Stephen Thomas