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Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, 6th Edition (Peterson Field Guides) Paperback – March 14, 2010
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With all-new range maps, updated text, and 40 new paintings, the completely revised editions of two classic Peterson Field Guides are sure to be valuable additions to any birder's pocket or daypack. At a trim size of 5 x 8, they are portable but also beautifully illustrated. Photographs, while modern looking and colorful, capture just one moment in time. The paintings in these guides, however, show all of a bird's key field marks and use the Peterson Identification System to make bird identification easier for beginning and intermediate bird watchers. A team of professional birders has updated the text, the maps, and the art for these authoritative guides. Expert birders also created 35 entertaining and easy-to-use video podcasts, which are available to download. They make fun and educational viewing on a computer desktop or MP3 player.
The best-selling field guide since 1934, the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America is now in its sixth edition. With clear, succinct accounts of more than 500 species, accurate and beautiful paintings on 159 color plates, and 512 maps annotated with extensive range information, this is the most up-to-date and accessible field guide for bird watchers in eastern North America
A Look Inside Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America
(Click on each image below to read about the bird group)
|Miscellaneous Chickenlike Birds||Atlantic Alcids (Auks) and Murrelets||Waxwings, Bulbul, and Starlings|
Based on the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (2008), this new edition of the original regional guide (2002) brings the same improvements and corrections to maps, taxonomy, and paintings. Peterson Field Guides are best for beginning to intermediate birders and are, as always, wonderful for teachers and trip leaders. The 2010 volumes (that is, this title and the fourth edition of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America) are simply subsets of the 2008 comprehensive volume, and as such contain no new information. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially those that do not own the 2008 North American guide. --Jeff Kosokoff
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Top Customer Reviews
I should say that Peterson's is no longer the single 'go-to' bird guide. Since I was last active in birding, the Sibley's guide has come along, and many birders seem to prefer it. I was able to borrow a Sibley and test it in the field and, based upon that, here is my comparison of the two big contenders for best bird book.
First, and most important, both books use drawings of birds rather than photographs. This is important because with photos the light and the characteristics of the individual bird photographed can vary rather widely. This can make it difficult to identify a bird that you may be looking at.
Second, also important, both books have accurate text and provide a good overview of each bird species in a given geographic area. Each is appropriately sourced and has good general information on what to look for in the field, including such things are the shape of a bird, color of the bill and feet, flight patterns,etc. They are similarly organized, according to the standard biological classification of bird orders.
So, the differences between Peterson's and Sibley's lie mostly in the books' layout and size, as follows:
This is a point of major divergence, as Peterson's puts the range maps in the back of the book, separate from the illustrations of each bird. Granted, it has a small thumbnail of each range map next to the bird picture, but I find these too small to be of much use. This can be a hassle, since you have to flip back and forth between a bird's descriptions/drawing and that bird's range map.
Sibley's put range maps on the same page with the bird description, so flipping back and forth isn't necessary. However, this means that the maps, while larger than the thumbnails on the bird pages in Peterson's, are not as large as the maps that appear in the back of the Peterson book. So there is a choice point each birder must make between the size of the range map and the convenience of accessing it.
The other issue is one of size. Peterson's seems to me to be slightly larger and heavier than Sibley's. This can make a difference if you are carrying the book into the field, which is what it is designed for. Why have a field guide that you don't want to tote around in the field? And some people complain that the Peterson's is just wide enough not to fit into the pocket of a pair of cargo pants.
On the other hand, the difference is slight and may not matter to some people one way or the other.
Price and Inclusiveness:
As of today on Amazon, Peterson's is about $7.00 less than Sibley's, AND it includes birds from both Eastern and Central North America, whereas the comparable Sibley's includes birds from only the Eastern part of North America.
It is possible that Sibley's has as many birds as the Peterson's. (I didn't actually count, so this issue may just be one of labeling.) But if Peterson's includes some birds from the Central region that Sibley's does not, that would account for its slightly larger size and weight. And it is also cheaper, at least today on amazon.
So, while there are differences, when all is said and done, whether you go with this Peterson's or with the rival Sibley's is mostly a matter of personal preference.
Not overwhelming in the amount of information it provides, but enough to be useful. The intro chapter gives general information on how to look at birds to identify them, bird habitats, etc., and ranges and commonness or rarity. This is followed by listings of birds by grouping, with intro, then by subgrouping, with details of the birds, comparing them side by side, with paintings of male and female of each and juvenile or breeding plumage sometimes, close-ups of bills for comparison, sometimes with paintings of underside and topside. The listings for each are brief, giving just enough info to identify, including seasonal range maps and vocalizations. The back contains more detailed range lists with how common or unusual the bird is within parts mof the range, along with a species "Life List" checklist for users to keep track of what they have seen. The index is by both scientific/Latin names and common names. The back of the book contains a few pages of silhouettes of the most common birds in their respective habitats - shore, flight and roadside. This is especially helpful because it shows relative sizes, and differences in flight shapes you'd see from the ground.
Thick, but not too big to carry along. Cover is coated for protection while still remaining reasonably flexible. Glad I bought it.