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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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As soon as They were available I signed up for the pre-order of both the eastern and western editions. I have had them now for around 5 months, and they have never left the house. I can only really comment on the eastern edition, because I never had a previous western ed., but I assume this applies to both.
The book's content is at least 95% the same as the previous edition. I have spotted an added picture or two, but not many. Colors have been changed slightly, but I am not sure that they are better, and it may just be the printing process. The text is updated to agree with current information, bird names, etc., but I haven't noticed much else. In that the pictures and information in the guides has always been excellent, all well and good.
The complaint I have is that the book is just no longer a FIELD GUIDE to me, as past editions were. It is thicker, somewhat heavier, and for a very poor reason, in my estimation. The difference is primarily in the back section of range maps, which has almost doubled in size. It takes up roughly 1/4 of the total size of the book. Now, we all refer to a range map from time to time, but I would bet its something like 1 in 300 times we use the book. Beyond that, the regular pages have smaller maps for the birds which suffice very well at least 95% of the time. To waste all that space and weight is ridiculous. If it is necessary to include all those large maps, I suggest they should be published separately and packaged with the guides, letting the user decide whether or not to carry them. I'm betting not 1/10 of 1% would. The old guide slid nicely into a pocket of my field pants. I won't be doing that with the new one, I'd be afraid it would rip the pocket out, if I could get it in at all. The newest National Geo. guides are top notch, and they are smaller, thinner, and lighter than Peterson, as are others. The "big Sibley" has become the bible for most birders, although mine will never leave the house or car because of size, so that leaves out the new Peterson from any primarly use other than possibly the "bird feeder birder". My feeling is, the people at Peterson "just don't get it" as far as their niche in the guide book business goes. I feel guilty for being a detractor of this "new standard", but I would feel more guilty if I did not.
Item seemed to be packaged fine (how could you package a book wrong?) however the item does not look new, as it was supposed to be. This book is a remainder (a book that is not selling well and priced at a bargain, and apparently treated poorly). There is gunk on the top right cover like a big price tag was removed. Also there is a big 3"x1/4" sharpie black mark on the top of the pages. This sharpie bleeds through on all the pages it touches. Further some of the edges have big bent in parts. I took a picture of the black mark and I will see if Amazon will let me post it. This is not in new condition Amazon! It is fine to sell remainders but at least list that they are so and what condition they are in. An item listed as new should be in the exact condition it came from the publisher. With that being said, the price I paid for it was great, I just would like some more honesty for Amazon.
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.
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