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Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America Paperback – May 27, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America + National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America + National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition
Price for all three: $49.91

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Pap/DVD edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061120405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061120404
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This new field guide provides a suite of modern tools to effectively aid in the identification of more than 750 species of birds across North America. It introduces a "whole bird" approach by concisely gathering a collection of information about birds into one portable and well-organized volume.

  • 2,000 stunning color photographs of birds in natural habitats show the most important field marks, regional population differences, life stages, and behaviors
  • 700-plus detailed and up-to-date color range maps show summer, migration, winter, year-round, and rare but regular occurrences of every major species
  • A DVD of birdsongs for 138 major species (587 vocalizations in all for 5½ hours of play); each high-quality MP3 file is embedded with an image of the bird, perfect to view on home computers and portable MP3 players
  • Concise descriptions of habits and ecology, age-related and seasonal differences, regional forms, vocalization, and informative captions pointing out the most important aspects of the bird
  • 46 group essays with information outlining taxonomy, feeding, migration, habitats, behaviors, and conservation status
  • A thorough and accessible introduction to birds and birding includes sections on parts of a bird, plumage and molt, food and feeding, migration, habitats, conservation, tips on bow to become a better birder, and more
  • A detailed glossary of terms, species checklist, and quick index

The new Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America is perfectly designed to give birders the most powerful and user-friendly collection of information to carry into the field or wherever they enjoy learning about birds and nature.

A Look (and Listen) Inside the Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Click on an image below to sample one of the 587 different downloadable bird songs included with the guide.

American Wigeon Common Loon Mallard
Red-Winged Blackbird Mourning Dove Northern Cardinal

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This new Smithsonian field guide, written by Birding magazine editor Floyd, is ideal for beginners, but also has formidable resources for experienced birders. What gives this guide the most value is the included CD-ROM, with 587 songs and calls (for 138 bird species) in mp3 format. Not only are they an immense improvement on written descriptions (frequently incomprehensible), they're field-ready-just download them onto your favorite mp3 player. The text is generally thorough, but the focus is on images; each bird's entry is accompanied by at least two photographs and often more, showing specimens in flight, variations in coloring, and differences among males, females and juveniles. Compared with similar guides from National Geographic, Floyd's has considerably less textual description, helpful in identifying rarer birds and hybrids, but the strikingly crisp photography compensates. Appropriate for even elementary-age readers, the book's excellent range maps are very clear, and the introduction to each group is readable and highly informative. Clean design, sharp (not heavy) print and moisture-resistant materials make it perfect for field use. Birders of any experience level will be happy with this volume on their bookshelf.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
62
4 star
22
3 star
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See all 86 customer reviews
Information is very densely laid out, but well organized and clear.
M. Broderick
Purchased this book for my 7 year old niece who also received binoculars for her birthday.
Dr J
She is constantly looking up birds and it has heightened her love for nature.
R. Grau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While I certainly do not consider myself an expert birder, I have been active in this wonderful pastime for around fifty years now. I do spend quite a lot of time in the field and my wife and I do travel quite a lot, she perusing her interests and mine. My first field guide was the old Roger Tory Peterson publication; actually it was the 1941 edition, which I still have. My goodness, we have come along way.

This new Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds is an absolute delight to use and a delight to the eye and ear. It is a rather large and heavy book, quite a lot larger than your average guide and weighs probably close to two pounds. This may not seem like much on a short stroll through the park, but it is of major consideration when spending day after day in the field, much of it walking. That cannot be helped though, as the size is indeed needed to record the plethora of information found between its covers. The book is well bound, which is very important. I have had more than one guide over the years that I have completely destroyed simply from over use and dragging in through the bush. I must admit that I have not had this particular book long enough to truly abuse it, but I suspect that it will hold up better than most. A day or two crouching in a swamp should tell that tale.

The book is arranged in order of families and not color or general habitat, which may take some getting use to for the beginning birder. This is really of minor concern though and of little moment. Each species addressed in this book is covered by some of the best bird photographs I have seen in any field guide at any time. In most cases we get a photograph of the female, male and juvenile. In addition, when appropriate there is a photo of the bird in molt and out.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By James L. Spingarn on June 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a companion to the better artwork illustated field guides such as National Geographic's, Sibley's or Peterson's, this photographic guide is a very worthwhile addition. It is the proper field-size and covers the important identification points, excellent up-to-date maps, interesting sidebars of relevant information, sizes in inches and weight in pounds and ounces (tired metric measurements?), brief summary of voice and an excellent included DVD with 587 downloadable birdsongs.

All photos are excellent and usefully descriptive by sex and age or seasonal plumage and important subspecies. Highly recommended!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. Crabtree TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First, I want to say that this bird book represents a fine overall effort by its author, editors, designer, photographers, devisors of range maps, and other contributors. While it has clear limitations as a field guide, it's still an excellent reference for birdwatchers.

I need to provide some background here so that folks will better understand my comments regarding this new 2008 birding field guide. Field guides are used by nature lovers and natural resource professionals mostly to IDENTIFY birds, wildflowers, rocks and minerals, reptiles, trees, and any number of other creatures, plants, and non-living objects found in our natural environment.

In regard to birds there are hundreds of available field guides but their numbers shrink as one either limits the geographical area that they cover, or, as the number of species in such guides expand, (e.g., from "Hawks of the U.S." to "Birds of the U.S.").

In this instance we have a birder's field guide which covers all species found in the United States (including Alaska) and Canada. So, there are really only three other field guides which closely rival the instant one and they are The Sibley Guide to Birds, National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America, 4th Edition, and, Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (Peterson Field Guides(R)). (I don't mention
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Donald Morgan on July 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll admit that I did buy it partially for the DVD and that's a major disappointment. Though it contains 587 files, they cover only 138 birds, and the selection of the birds is suspect at best. Including species such as American Robin, European Starling and House sparrow is just a waste. Also, many of the individual tracks are nesting sounds, etc. which are useless to me and I believe, the typical birder. If they had included only typical songs and calls they could have probably included 300 or 400 birds with that many tracks. The tracks are the typically excellent recordings of Lang Elliot, who, of course, has a library of probably thousands of birds.
Having said that, I agree with the majority of reviews which say the book is a good to excellent field guide, which could stand on its own and probably deserve a rating between 4 and 5 stars. The pictures are excellent, in many cases better than I have found in other guides for a particular species. There is also a good bit of detailed and useful information included. I would recommend the book to anyone. They should have left out the DVD and knocked a buck or two off the price.
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