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Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, Fourth 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.
Last updated in 1990, the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds covers nearly 600 species on 176 color plates, with 588 comprehensive range maps, now included with the illustrations. Every bird watcher in western North America will want to own this long-awaited, up-to-date fourth edition.
A Look Inside Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds
(Click on each image below to read about the bird group)
|Finchlike Birds||Grosbeaks||Parakeets and Parrots|
Based on the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (2008), this new edition of the original regional guide (1990) 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 sixth edition of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central 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 also love this new addition. Although it is a bit larger, it is still smaller that my Sibley guide. It also has some of the improvements that made the Sibley guides popular, such as maps on the same page as the bird illustrations. (Another reviewer has complained the maps are not accurate, but I must admit that I only use the maps as a very general reference. The bird migration and shifting populations seem to make the presence of many birds "outside the map" a real possibility where I live).
The larger illustrations are a real improvement (much appreciated as my eyes age). The biggest difference for me, after years of birdwatching, is that the Peterson Guide is only one of the sources I consult. Now I carry a field guide but am more likely to take field notes and sketches home to look at more than one source. Perhaps because I studied art when I was young, I prefer the less constrained illustrations by Peterson vs. Sibley. All in all, the Peterson Guide is still the one I will carry with me in the field as the quick reference. I have often heard that Peterson is not for "serious' birders. Well, it has served this amateur well for several decades. The new addition is a delight. It is not prefect, there is no perfect; but if I were to recommend one guide to western birds, this would be the one.
For the expert birder, there's plenty to love here, too. The index takes you directly to specific birds. The pictures show multiple pictures when birds look differently as immature or breeding. The maps are very useful in helping narrow the exact species. And having this book cover only Western birds means that you'll likely spend less time searching for a particular bird.
Although I read the digital galley and wasn't able to take the guide into the field, I was able to go back home and correctly answer this question: Hey Mom! What's that bird called? The bonus podcasts are very helpful.
I highly recommend this new edition for both dedicated or aspiring bird watchers and for parents who want to provide some more in depth and accurate information about birds found in their area.
I chose the Peterson Guide because my husband has a complete collection on many field topics and I've always loved them. They are visual, well organized, with illustrations and photographs, information on regions the birds are typically found in, as well as their mating, hunting, and other survival habits.
My friends were DELIGHTED and said it was exactly what they wanted. It was a winning choice!
I really wish I could agree with the glowing reviews given by others, but I can't, at least in some respects. I grew up with the original Peterson field guide, and it was my parents' bible. The revisions over the years greatly enhanced the original material. I doubt there is a "seasoned" birder out there who would not say that the Peterson guides are responsible to a great extent for their love of birding.
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 primary 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.