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Western Birds (An Audubon Handbook) Paperback – January 1, 1988

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Most recent field guides to North American birds have been directed toward experienced birders; they assume a knowledge of techniques and terminology, and include many seldom-found species. In contrast, this set is intended to teach beginners the basic techniques of field identification and how to apply them to the birds that regularly occur in the United States (excluding Hawaii and most of Alaska) and southern Canada. How To Identify Birds presents the six essential features: habitat, size, behavior, shape/posture, color/pattern, and voice. The major North American habitats are described, mapped, and illustrated. A size scale based on well-known species is provided. Common behaviors, and typical shapes, postures, colors, and patterns, are defined and depicted. Birds' voices are not easily described in writing, and this section is inevitably less successful, but overall, concepts are presented effectively. Geographic coverage in the eastern and western field guides divides along the western edge of the Great Plains. In each, birds with similar characteristics are grouped in approximate taxonomic sequence. The species accounts include English and scientific names, habitat, field marks, notes on similar species, range, and color photos. In sexually dimorphic species, both sexes are normally depicted, usually in breeding plumage; other variant plumages (e.g., immature birds, winter plumages) are usually noted in the text. A few minor typographical errors and one case of interchanged picture captions are unimportant blemishes in a well-conceived and executed set. How To Identify Birds and the geographically relevant companion field guide are recommended for public and secondary school libraries.Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Western Birds covers every breeding species west of the Rockies, with 1,314 color photographs and 168 drawings. The easy-to-remember field marks use the unique How to Identify Birds method created by John Farrand, Jr.

Picture-and-text accounts of over 460 species, with easy-to-remember field marks. Photographic flight comparisons. Keyed to How to Identify Birds. Companion volume: Eastern Birds.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 1 edition (January 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070199779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070199774
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,827,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Deb K on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has very good photographs of Western birds and has a very pleasing format. The book itself is well made and has a very sturdy binding. The notations in the field marks almost always include a behavior easily noticed in the birds, making them easier to identify.
EVERY one of my friends interested in birds has loved this book and has wanted one. I have given 6 or 7 of them as gifts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll assume that most anyone thinking about this book is familiar with the standard Audubon Field Guides. As mentioned by others, this Audubon Handbook was published in only one edition in 1988, so anything you buy now will be over 25 years old. Not that it has anything to do with the content of the book, but the one I just bought used on Amazon was separating in the spine in several places even though it doesn't look to have been that hard-used, and I fear it is just a matter of time until pages start separating from the binding and falling out. I have an Audubon Field Guide (Insects and Spiders) given to me as a kid about 30 years ago and it has no such issues. Also on the topic of this Handbook versus the Field Guides, the height and thickness of this Handbook is about the same as the Field Guides but the width is perhaps half again greater, so this is not a small book at all.

So on to content and format: When I first looked at this book on Amazon I thought I'd like the format of pictures and text for one bird on the same page. It is always somewhat annoying in the Field Guides to have to flip between a picture and the text 100's of pages apart.
In reality it is not that great. The Field Guide text is fairly different from this Handbook (for the better), and to me the biggest downfall of this Handbook is that it doesn't have the range maps that the Field Guides do. Being the guide to Western Birds, at first glance the range of every bird described in this book sounds pretty much the same, which is obviously not the case. ("From British Columbia south to California, as far east as Colorado and the Texas Panhandle". Um, yeah, not super helpful... I MUCH prefer the maps in the Field Guides.
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By Donola Thornberg on March 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this for my 10 year old grand-daughter who enjoys watching birds with me.
She is learning to recognize the birds in our area both by sight and sound and this book has helped
her greatly. I have used this reference for many years and knew that it would be accurate for her.
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By ALF on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't let the publication date discourage you from considering this book. The photos are complement other bird books. We use it often on outings.
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