The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior
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The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior

4.45 of 5 stars 4.45  ·  rating details  ·  512 ratings  ·  25 reviews
“Once in a great while, a natural history book changes the way people look at the world. In 1838, John ames Audubon’s Birds of America was one...In 1934, Roger Tory Peterson produced Field Guide to the Birds...Now comes The Sibley Guide to Birds.”

Thus did The New York Times, in 1999, greet David Allen Sibley’s monumental book, which has quickly been established nationwide...more
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published October 2nd 2001 by Knopf
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Community Reviews

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Rebecca
Good standard resource for anyone who is curious about birds. Have found informed and observant thoughts about why Blue Jays are so gutsy and aggressive, nesting habits of golden eagles, how hummingbirds protect themselves (aggressive birds!), and much more. A wonderful book to have on hand if you tend to find yourself with your head in the clouds, the trees, and the movement taking place between....
David R.
Birding master Sibley has prepared an information-rich repository of detailed information on birds to complement his field guides. This is a pre- and post-field reference only! As the bulk of the work is organized around orders and families, it would be difficult to use as a field reference even if one made the attempt. It is also probably more than beginners and even intermediate birders are prepared to work with. For advanced birders, this would be a valuable addition to the reference library.
Krista
I'm getting sick of my bird factoids and am on a quest to find new ones.

This took forever to get through. I got lots of new factoids, so many that I can't recall a single one. But I'm confident having read this that the factoids are lodged somewhere in my brain and may be able to be recalled if needed.

This is a great book for a bird-nerd, but I would not attempt it cover to cover otherwise.
Rebecca
The go-to book for all of your questions about birds! His field guides are equally excellent, so if you don't want a tome about the life histories of all bird families, you can get those. I saw Sibley speak once: these books become more impressive when you realize that some of his drawings are the result of literal years of observation.
David
This is something of a reference book. The first part gives a global overview of bird behavior, the second part addresses the same for specific bird groups. I’m continuing to read the second part as I identify species within those specific families. This is outstanding mass of information on birds with great illustrations.
Tiffany
This is a great reference, but it is pretty textbook-y. I think the general chapters at the front are good information, but the family chapters have various authors and some are better than others. If you only want to know about a specific bird you have to search through the whole family chapter.
A.D. Morel
Unparalleled companion to the unparalleled field guide, though I don't put either of them in my pack. I don't want to wreck them. I especially like the illustrations by the talented Mr. Sibley. He has answered so many questions! I turn to this again and again.
Diana
Nice info on each species. With additional info on bird populations, habitat, and challenges facing species.
Linked habitat and habitat degradation are a big problem. Quantity, quality and abuse of wetland also effecting species.
ALX
Wish I could give this book ten stars! Fascinating. Exceptional illustrations and descriptive detail. Definitely want to have this on my shelves as a reference tool. I could read the whole thing over again easily.
Orrin
Mar 25, 2012 Orrin marked it as to-read
Not a field guide to individual species. More a guide to behavior of genera and families. More of a reference book than a cover-to-cover read.

Today 3/25/12 I read the chapter on Chickadees and Titmice. Very good.
adriana
excellent reference on life histories of north american birds. birds are treated by family, with specific species examples. a good supplement to the field guide by same author.
Jen
Awesome! A extremely thorough guide for beginning bird watchers or advanced. Info on birds in general and then a more detailed section for individual families.
Liz
Feb 23, 2008 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: bird enthusiasts
Recommended to Liz by: Katherine
Shelves: birds
I haven't read this cover-to-cover, but I flip through it and read sections when I'm wondering about certain birds. I love this book.
just sarah
this is fascinating for any nature-lover as it relates bird behaviors & environment. seriously, that sounds nerdy, but it's really cool.
Cheryl
Oct 26, 2007 Cheryl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: naturalists
There is no other book like this. An excellent reference when investigating both individual species and general bird behavior alike.
Monte
a lot of really cool stuff and also that if you damage a bird's brain the bird is then brain-damaged.
John
Good guide to bird families, but it could use more detail for individual species.
Scott
Jan 05, 2008 Scott added it
fun to cruise through every now and then; pick a section and learn something.
Mrs
So far I love all the information that is jammed into this book!
Bob Peru
all ya need to know 'bout our fine-feathered friends!
Liz
An excellent thorough introduction to the subject.
Tessa Eger
I like Pete Dunne's Field Guide better...
Alice Sather
Excellent resource, well-written, succinct.
Maia
The essential bird book!
Aaron
Very factual, almost textbook like, full of knowledge and very useful knowledge too. Not just about birds, but about everything about birds of North America. Including new behavioral traits and possible updates in taxonomy. Great for the birder and for the student of ornithology alike.
Jeremiah Zachwieja
Jeremiah Zachwieja is currently reading it
Jul 22, 2014
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