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The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Stokes Field Guides) Paperback – October 25, 2010
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―Wayne Petersen, Massachusetts Audubon Society
"This is by far the most comprehensive North American field guide I have in my possession. [It] is so chock-full of quality photos, complete descriptions, maps and so forth...There are so many nice modern features that make this field guide extremely useful and user-friendly. I could go on and on...Yet another quality product from the Stokes, the endearing Ma & Pa of the birding world."―Robert Mortensen, Idaho Birding Blog
"[I]f one is going to own a photographic field guide for the birds of North America, the Stokes now have the most complete book on the market...The list of each species subspecies and hybrids is a wonderful touch; I can't think of any other field guide that ever included such information...you can't go wrong with this guide."―Cory Finger, 10,000 Birds Blog
"This is a glorious book put together with loving attention to detail...a superb, good-value field guide."―Mark Cocker, BBC Wildlife
"The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America is an easy-to-use, superbly designed field guide that is detailed enough to be useful for birders of all experience levels. Highly recommended, this field guide is sure to be a delightful addition to any birder's library."―About.com Birding Guide
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Top Customer Reviews
And, as usual, the Stokeses provide a wealth of information in a sensible, uncluttered layout. The guide is comprehensive and fully up-to-date with newly split species (e.g. Pacific Wren, formerly a subspecies of Winter Wren); subspecies (if any) for each species; and current range maps that reflect breeding/winter range extensions and retractions.
As if all that weren't enough, a CD with the sounds of 150 species is enclosed to get the reader started learning to identify birds by ear. Bravo, Don and Lillian!
I have not had time to read and use all the book yet; primarily the raptor, shorebird and gull sections, which amaze me for their extensiveness and substance. For example, there are four pages devoted to Red-tailed Hawk, with 23 photos, 12 in flight and 11 perched, covering the subspecies. There are two pages with 9 photos of Swainson's Hawk, and a full page on Roadside Hawk. I haven't even mentioned the downloadable CD of 600 bird songs of 150 common birds, which could be worth the price of the book alone. (Have not used this yet.)
My criticisms so far are few. For raptors and shorebirds in particular, I would like to see a range for length where there are dramatic differences within a species (e.g. accipiters and Dunlin) that can cause confusion with other species. I'd also like to see wingspread ranges for birds often seen best in flight, such as hawks, cranes, etc.
This is not a Stokes' pocket guide. You can't have 3400+ quality photographs produced at an adequate size and substantial text in a book with the same dimensions as the original Peterson.Read more ›
I bought the Stokes guide after reading the reviews here and I have NOT found it easy AT ALL for identifying birds of which I am not familiar. It is grouped by "families" of birds (not by "looks") so I feel I need to know what family an unknown bird is in in order to find it (Catch-22).
I am writing this review because I just came back on Amazon to check out the latest offerings by Peterson and Sibley (the latter recommended by my birder uncle). He also recommended an "Eastern" edition to cut down on the info noise.
Now, I don't want this review to sound too negative (I gave it 4 stars) because I think this Stokes book will be a wonderful addition to the Peterson or Sibley that I anticipate purchasing. Once I identify the bird I can look it up in the Stokes and see the beautiful "real" photographs of the bird.
(1) Peterson or Sibley first (the latter I have never used; again, just my birder uncle's recommendation);
(2) then the Stokes.
I hope this helps someone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lot of photographs to help identify the birds. There is also a page at the cover to help index the birds by type.Published 18 days ago by Cheng
Excellent resource, thorough details, great photography and selection of photos (often showing several stages/plumages, which really helps for identification). Read morePublished 20 days ago by Alicia Clark
Oh, my Lord this 3-pound doorstop is beautiful! Worth every penny. Buy it, smell it, read it.Published 1 month ago by WayneChicago
This book is heavy and has more information than I thought it would, but I am super excited to give this away as a gift to my Dad. Read morePublished 2 months ago by L. Rohrbaugh
Made a nice gift. It has a CD in the bag with bird sounds and pictures.Published 2 months ago by George Jefferson
Bought as a gift along with binoculars for family member. Got this Stokes version as a recommendation from a personal friend who rehabs raptors and has extensive knowledge on bird... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Darlah F.
Given as a gift to new birder enthusiast. It's not a field guide however, Too heavy, but good for looking out the window.Published 6 months ago by Water Garden Enthusiast