221 of 226 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2004
I bought this book because I live in the Northeast. However, I was surprised to discover that this edition actually has most species of birds, including those that live in the West or South, with ranges through and including Mexico. This was a wonderful surprise as I actually travel quite a bit, so I don't have to buy additional editions of Sibley's bird books.
As to the content of Sibley's guide, there is none better. His illustrations are outstanding, and descriptions are just wonderful. He describes ranges, eating habits, whether the bird tends to be solitary or fly in groups (flocks), nesting, coloration, etc. Best of all, I really like how he shows the bird in a multitude of positions, from standing to flight, so that if you saw a glint of the bird in a different point of view, you can still identify it using this guide. Top ratings.
116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2005
After a several year hiatus of working with a camera, I recently picked up photography again as a hobby. Shortly thereafter, I started gaining an interest in wildlife and birds, and began photographing them. When I asked several photographers which bird ID book to look into, they immediately mentioned Sibley.
While browsing through the shelves at a B&N brick and mortar store, I immediately understood why Sibley's book is so highly regarded.
There are several elements that really stand out in my mind
* The book is very well laid out
* Excellent, accurate illustrations detailing various characterstics among species, gender, etc
* Thoughtfully organized sections that make reading it a breeze, whether you are simply browsing for a bird ID or want to learn more by reading more in-depth.
* It's a managable size, that can be carried along, should you decide to take it in the field. I usually leave mine home, as I am usually capturing the bird on camera already.
* Although it's the Eastern North American field guide, there are species that can be found in the book from much further away. I can only assume they include everything that you "might" encounter out in the field, which is an excellent benefit.
Don't settle for anything less. Get the Sibley's book.
108 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2003
This field guide is a nice size that's easy to carry around, has multiple drawn pictures of each bird as well as a short text and range map for each - The text generally starts out with saying if the bird is common or not and then goes into where they nest, winter etc. It talks about the typical foods, if they're solitary or not. One thing I like too is that it often tells if the bird is native or non-native to the US which I find particularly interesting. Voice/song is also discussed in the text. Excellent reference book. I keep one in the house and one in the car. Highly recommended!
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
As a new birder, I did a lot of checking before buying a guide. I found Sibley to be the best guide for the field. While there is limited information, this guide provides essential information needed to make a positive identification. It includes multiple images of birds as well as any variants for gender, age, etc. While I would definitely suggest at least looking at other guides, I would say this is the essential guide for time in the field. Additionally, now that the larger Sibley Guide has been split into a Eastern and Western version it is portable: it fits in my back pocket as I trek through the woods.
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2004
I, like a couple of the other reviewers here, have all of Sibley's books. I like and use them, but I would urge anyone about to start birding to take the time and look at copies of Peterson, Audubon, Stokes, National Geo, all before you choose Sibley.
Sibley meets my needs. My wife, who is a professional Wildlife Biologist, would not touch anything but Peterson, and only specific editions of Peterson (and, yes, that divergence does result in a very large collection of field guides...). Neither of us care for any of the other ones. But, since the other ones sell, they must meet someone's needs, maybe yours.
What I have found, is you tend to think and learn in terms of the field guide you are used to. Make sure you can handle the guide's organization and approach. Understand that Sibley's information format is more free-form than some of the others. I don't mind reading for the details, you might.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2004
The Sibley book is the only guide I really use anymore. It just seems every time I find a tough bird to ID the sibley book is the one that makes my mind up. The drawings are almost caricatures of the birds, really accentuating what you need to pick out. The Nat. Geo book is good (more artistic drawings) and I keep my official tally in it, but when I go out walking around I take sibley. It also fits in your back pocket While Nat. geo. (Other Favorite) Doesnt. Peterson Guide I'm not a huge fan of. Flipping around to find the Range map, That bugs me.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2003
The Sibley Guide to Birds, as most mention, is a great guide but too heavy to tote into the field...this field guide solves that problem.
Yes, the illustrations are smaller, but just as useable. Yes, some of the illustrations in the original guide have been deleted, but the guide you take with is better than the one at home. (You should have the original at home anyway!)
I find that the addition of Status, Habitat and Behavior in the text more than makes up for fewer illustrations.
Well made and sturdy...buy it!
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2003
I started birdwatching a year and a half ago and the Sibley Guide to Birds was the first guide I purchased. Although I had been told it was for "expert" birders, I just thought the illustrations were much clearer than any other guide. It was a joy to look at, at home on my couch. But I never wanted to take it with me in the field because it's too darn heavy.
So the Sibley FIELD Guide is the exactly the guide I've been wishing for. The illustrations are just as clear, even though they've been scaled down, and the format is a managable size and weight. The original guide had many variations, by region, sex, age, etc., and I think they had to drop a few of these, but at my level of birdwatching I don't miss them. The guide DOES still show male and female, first year, etc. I took this guide with me to Prospect Park, Brooklyn, last weekend, and I saw and ID'ed 45 species. Not bad for an amateur!
Expert birders will already be familiar with Sibley and can make up their own minds, so I would like to say to beginning birdwatchers, give this guide a shot. I really think the illustrations are the best and most helpful.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2009
David Allen Sibley's "Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America" is an excellent book. Buy it. Own it. Give it as a gift. The fact remains, though, that the Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide is still the single very best field guide you can own.
I've been birdwatching for decades, on four continents. My lifelist is in the hundreds. I'm also a teacher and I devote much time to thinking about the best way to present essential information.
As truly awesome as Sibley's guide is, the Roger Tory Peterson guides are simply better.
Why? RTP was a master at condensing an infinite amount of information and conveying it in the most easily understood method. The amount of information you *could* know about birds is virtually infinite. Did you know, for example, that the ring around a robin's eye is broken up into three? Probably not. Do you need to know that to identify a robin? Absolutely not.
RTP's book focuses on the key information you need to know to identify a bird in the field: the essential information about the bird's appearance, behavior, song, and similar species.
David Allen Sibley's book, on the other hand, presents a plethora of information you do not need to know. With all that, his verbal descriptions missed vital info found in Peterson.
I tried to give this book a test run while birdwatching and I found it unusable. I was distracted by TMI -- too much information. My eyes darted about the page, unsure of where to focus, a problem never encountered when using a Peterson guide.
I love Sibley's book and I'm glad it exists. Recently, though, I wanted to buy a field guide for someone I'd hoped might take up birdwatching. I considered Sibley, but went with RTP. The first and still the best. Sibleys' book is great, but, to me, it is a supplement to RTP, not a replacement.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2003
David Sibley has done it again. I enjoy reading and looking at Sibley's "Guide to Birds" several times a day. It replaced the National Geographic's "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" as my first choice for bird information. With "Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America", David Sibley has published a book that can be carried in the field. The heavy "Guide to Birds" was just too much to carry. This book has several new renderings and improved range maps. The book is also undated with several new bird names and taxonomic changes. It is a welcomed edition for my eastern bird books. As I live in the western regions, I needed a good field guide to carry when visiting the eastern regions.