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Showing 1-10 of 225 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 314 reviews
on February 16, 2015
Unlike many bird books, this shows males and females and juveniles as well as what birds look like in flight. Beautifully illustrated. Includes pointers for distinguishing similar subspecies from each other. My only complaint is that the organization of the book is not intuitive to me. With some other bird books, I can easily thumb the pages to the section I want. With this book, I always have to go to the index or table of contents first. Sometimes, I have to go to first to browse by shape before I can figure out what part of the book to turn to. Maybe that is because I am a bird-watching photographer as opposed to a serious birder.

The turtleback soft cover is nice to handle and very durable and stays open where you want it when you set it down on a table. That makes it equally good to take in your car or backpack as well as to use as a desk reference.

In conclusion, a serious birder would probably give this a 5-star rating, whereas a casual bird-watcher will sometimes need another more basic resource to point them to the right section of this detailed book. I do not regret my purchase and use this book a lot, but I sometimes need to point the way.
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on August 18, 2015
Absolutely love this bird guide! If you want to learn to bird this is the guide. I have other bird guides but none are put together to enhance the learning of each species as well as this one. If you study the order of the groups then become familiar with the order in this book you are well on your way to having a great time exploring Western North American birds. The low rating is due to the book quality. Printed and bound by Nippon Printing co. Singapore. I have only had this book a little over 1 month. The cover is paperback reinforced glossy cover with fold in flaps for more durability but the binding thread is weak and shallow. Already the pages section 463 to 466 has come loose. That seems quite absurd for a reference book expected to be flipped through. I'm disappointed. My last edition of this book lasted for YEARS of travel in all weather conditions and only had some dog ears. The quality of this printed edition is obviously low.
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on September 21, 2014
I own a number of bird guides for Western North American birds. I have used the Peterson books since University. Last year I purchased this book because I wanted to get a newer book since the Peterson was getting quite old. The review on Amazon gave this book a high rating so I purchased it. The guide has not disappointed me in anyway. Good maps and the pictures are accurate. I like the layout of the book and birds are easy to identify using this guide. The guide is small enough to carry with you if you want, however I mostly photograph birds so I can identify when I get home. I have purchased a second of the first edition for a vacation home. These are fun books to have a very useful. Second addition, which I purchased also is much larger not suitable to carry with you in the field. But still a great book.
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on May 17, 2017
This is my first Bird guide. I have plant and track guides that have a nice "how to use this guide" section with methods for navigating the guide. I did not find that in this guide and find myself flipping every page to find birds I'm looking for. I think to help this I'll add some sticky label tabs on different sections. My professor recommended to use a guide that has drawings as opposed to photographs of birds as this will be more accurate to the species than one individual.
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on February 22, 2016
I'm east of the Rockies, but am headed West 3X this year for work and vacation.

I'm a Sibley-school birder, so it'll be nice to have a familiar guide in unfamiliar land (with range maps and field marks).

I'm not in love with the binding of this book, primarily because of the style of the outer cover. The cover of my Sibley East book is heavily bent and marred. But I always try to relax and tell myself it's a field guide and it should look like it's been in the field. I've owned Sibley East for 3 years with moderate use and the pages are all still together. Hopefully West will follow suit.

Finally, a word of warning; Second editions of Sibley East and Sibley West (now called by their common names in the field) will be shipping MARCH 2016. If you can wait, you might want to hold off until they come out. It wont' be extremely different, as the birds of the world haven't changed much, but I hear the art's updated and feedback on layout has been considered.
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on November 9, 2010
I own this can compare it side by side to the venerable Roger Tory Peterson Guide and Stoke's N.A. Field Guide.


Nice size (slightly larger/thicker than Peterson but not larger than the National Geographic N.A. Guide), definitely more portable than the gorgeous Stokes.

Decent illustrations (some even better than R.T. Peterson - check out the American Wigeon Sibley vs R.T.P.)

More illustrations, in more aspects, per bird.

Handy range maps right where the illustrations live, not in a separate section like R.T.P.


Images can be a bit too small for some larger birds. IMHO the raptors & shorebirds suffer the most in Sibley's book from being shrunk down so much. R.T.P has larger versions of each but some, like the owls are upper body illustrations whereas the admittedly smaller Sibley versions are full body.

No gorgeous photos like Stokes (but it was never intended to compete in this way) but it is also very much more portable than Stokes.

Why this won't completely replace my R.T. Peterson's Guides which are excellent overall for these reasons: (1) They have good illustrations with important arrow pointers and (2) italicized text in the descriptions that easily highlight the key identifiers. The Sibley guide has some arrow pointers, but not as many as R.T.P.). (3) R.T.P also has similar species mention that could look like the bird you are trying to identify, so you have alternate options.

But all in all, buy this book if you want a great birding reference book and own only beginner's guides. This book will maybe not replace my R.T.P. but it will be a great addition to my birding reference library.
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on October 31, 2013
I grew up with Petersen field guides, but never really liked their format, so always went back to my ancient Golden guide until I found the Sibley series. I have found the descriptions and illustrations to be fairly spot on for my casual (and sometimes more intense) birding. In most cases there are drawings (far superior to the photos in the Audubon guides in my opinion) of both sexes and juveniles, which is really handy. Even though this is a guide to the Western birds, there are a lot of species that are also from the midwest and probably as far as the Appalachians, which made it useful for a trip back to Michigan this fall. Maps are fairly accurate, but of course birds are constantly expanding or shrinking, and I found it helpful to get local bird lists to fill in the gaps. With friends, we all carry different guides to give us a broader selection of pictures, but I always look at this book first.
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on January 17, 2016
WOW-comparing this book to the several others I have comparing birds in Southern California is much better with the distinct color photographs, description, variations, location(s), and clarity. Kind of wish it had more about each bird but then the excellent binding and thickness would be compromised. I noticed what the bird expert and tour director used on the lagoon here and then rushed to get MY copy. We use it daily observing all the different flights coming and going daily...even identifying a Heron that our daughter in Louisiana took a picture of and e-mailed to us.
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on August 19, 2014
I bought this field guide before taking a vacation to Colorado Springs, to compliment my Eastern North America version. It is easy to use, well-organized, contains clear and helpful information for IDing birds (including distinguishing features between similar species). Great reference for confirming sightings of numerous western species spotted in Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, etc. Based on using the Eastern guide, I had high hopes that it would be useful, and it was very worth the purchase. I'm happy to have the full set now.
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on December 17, 2013
“The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America” by David Allen Sibley

This book is true field guide size and has gone with me on trips to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and the Rockies. It has ridden for days on the front seat of my van next to the binoculars and camera equipment. Since I don’t live in the West and don’t get to see those birds every day, this excellent guide has saved me innumerable hours of guesswork and wondering about Western birds. It is even very helpful in “specialty areas” like California’s Central Valley and the Pacific Coast Highway. In months kicking around the West it has been all the field guide I’ve needed.
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