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Bird Songs Bible: The Complete, Illustrated Reference for North American Birds Hardcover – October 27, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Truly encyclopedic, 'Bird Songs Bible' is a masterwork." - Chicago Tribune

About the Author

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit institution located in Ithaca, New York. Its mission is to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity through research.

Les Beletsky is a celebrated bird biologist and the author of Bird Songs and Bird Songs from Around the World. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Box edition (October 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081187138X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811871389
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.1 x 14.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Length: 1:55 Mins
This is a gorgeous book, full of valuable information. It could be used and appreciated by the birding novice and the expert alike. It's also quite handy, as they've thought to include a fairly solid carrying case, complete with a handle. Edited by celebrated bird scientist Les Beletsky, the book aims to be a comprehensive guide to all the native birds of North America, and includes a gorgeous illustration and helpful notes on every single one. The notes for each bird include a very useful descriptive passage, including details such as the fact that the Mute Swan is distinguished from other swans by its black-knobbed orange bill. It also includes discussions of where they are found - and there's a color-coded distribution map as well. Each section, additionally, includes a paragraph on habitat, behavior and vocalizations.

The really novel feature of this book, though, is that it includes very clear and distinctive audio recordings of the vocalizations of each bird, drawn from the library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Every bird is numbered, and you just type in the number onto the keypad of the sound unit attached to this book and it plays some of the distinctive sounds that particular bird makes. One thing that surprised me was when I played the sound of the Bald Eagle I realized I've heard them often in a nearby nature park. I knew I'd seen them on occasions, but didn't realize they were the bird making that sound, and that I was hearing them more often than I saw them! (See the brief attached video for a glimpse at what this book looks like and how it sounds and how it works.)

The table of contents divides up the sections in two ways, by bird type and by region/habitat, which would make it easier to find a particular bird if you didn't know its exact name.
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6 Comments 106 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Special PLAY ALL Tracks Modes for the Bird Songs Bible book:

Greetings to all readers and listeners of the Bird Songs Bible book.

This is Steve Beck, and I was one of the team members who worked on making the book.

I worked on the custom audio engineering and some related technology items in the digital audio player.

There are some special PLAY ALL tracks modes in the Bird Songs Bible Book.

These track numbers will automatically play all (or some) of the 728 bird sounds.

Just punch in the three digit track code number and press the PLAY button.

999 = Plays ALL tracks 1 to 728
990 = plays tracks 1-99
991 = plays tracks 100-199
992 = plays tracks 200-299
993 = plays tracks 300-399
994 = plays tracks 400-499
995 = plays tracks 500-599
996 = plays tracks 600-699
997 = plays tracks 700-728

When you do this the display will briefly show the word ALL.

Then the track number which is playing will display during automatic PLAY ALL mode.

You can press the PLAY/PAUSE button at any time to stop the automatic playback.

If you press any other control button, a number button or the << or >> buttons, the PLAY ALL mode will also stop.

Adjusting the volume levels does NOT stop the PLAY ALL automatic songs playbacks.

At the end of playing all the tracks selected the book will automatically turn off power after about 15 seconds.

You can also enter a new track number at any time, press PLAY, and the automatic playback will stop, and the track number you just entered will play.

Then the book goes back into single track play mode.
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2 Comments 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What makes this different from other bird books is that it not only illustrates and describes each bird but also plays back its song or call using an integrated audio player. Each bird has a number; to hear its song you enter its number on a keypad and press the "play" button. The recordings last up to five seconds or so, depending on how long a bird's song is.

Each pages contains a color drawing and detailed description of from one to three birds. The book covers all the birds of North America and Hawaii. It seems to be a fairly basic book intended more for a general audience than for experienced bird enthusiasts.

I am not a bird enthusiast, I just wanted something that would identify my local birds and let me know which ones I was hearing. This book did that.

There are some drawbacks, though. The text is a bit small. The labels on the players' buttons are very difficult to see. The book is big and quite heavy; the audio player is mounted on its right-hand edge, making it even bigger. This is a coffee-table book, not a field guide (and the introduction warns against using the audio player in the field anyway, as that can apparently upset or confuse the birds).

However, this is a very interesting and useful book to have in the house and it should even interest the kids.
2 Comments 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is, without a doubt, the nicest book I have ever owned. I'm sure many of you look at the price and wonder if it's worth it and I can tell you unequivocally: It is. Especially if you're a birdwatcher.

I consider myself a beginner. Mostly I like to sit outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and listen, maybe catch a glimpse of color fly by. I have a hard time discerning the difference in the bird songs which is why I got this. I was not disappointed. The book is large and every page is done with rich, bold colors. 747 birds are featured and each has a map of where they can be found with short blurbs on description, habitat, distribution, vocalizations and behavior. Best yet, the accompanying audio is crystal clear. In fact, it's so life like that there's a warning not to use this book haphazardly as it may disrupt the normal rhythms of the birds at your location. The audio is delivered through a device attached to the book. The device is simple to use and I like how it shuts off after 30 seconds of inactivity.

The book, as mentioned before, is large and bulky. Most likely you wouldn't have this on your lap while outside because your lap would soon get numb. It's also cumbersome to handle but that's not really a detractor to me. It's like complaining a dictionary has way too many words and should be smaller. This book is comprehensive and the size is a bonus since the birds are rendered with such detail and beauty.

I've used this book often and even solved a mystery with it. At night, my husband and I would hear a specific bird call right as we were drifting off to sleep. It was unusual and always brought me back from the edge of dreams but during the day, I wouldn't see anything out of the ordinary, just a crow or robin here and there. I figured it must be an owl, but I didn't confirm it until I got this book. As I pressed the button, I knew right away: This was it! Somewhere close to my home lived a Barred Owl! I was thrilled!
3 Comments 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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