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A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America
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A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides #1)

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  887 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Features the unique Peterson Identification System, which has never been surpassed as a tool for field identification and is available only in Peterson Guides. "The Birder's Bible" for over sixty years. All the birds of eastern and central North America--including accidentals, exotics, and escapes--shown in full color and described in detail. 390 complete, easy-to-read ran ...more
Paperback, 4th Edition, 380 pages
Published November 17th 1984 by Houghton Mifflin (P) (first published 1934)
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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary by Merriam-WebsterThe Oxford English Dictionary by J.A. SimpsonThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne TrussOxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary by Albert Sydney Hornby
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New York Public Library Books of the Century pt 1
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Jennifer Blakeslee
I collect bird guides, but when I actually go out in the field, this is the ONLY book I bring with me. It's truly indispensable -- and I'll always love it for describing chimney swifts as "cigars with wings."
Jul 24, 2012 max rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: nature
Talk about definitive. There are others, but this was the first that was intended to provide specific identification aids in the field. It still rules. It is often fun just to do some armchair browsing through its gorgeous plates and recall what I have seen and where, and what I have not seen.

Birding is such a sweet pastime, and is fun either alone or in the company of others, especially highly skilled observers.
Brian Cassada
Great book for birding. Use it often. The tips that each color plate has to help point specific unique characteristics for each bird are extremely helpful. This book came to me by way of a friend who was pointed to it by some more advanced bird watchers. Definitely a must have book for those who enjoy bird watching.
This is THE book my parents taught me with on our hikes. I've carried it with me all over the continent. When a mysterious bird drops by our bird feeder it's the book my children reach for. It rarely spends time on the shelf.
This book is a keeper , as an Ontario resident, it is a must , pelee Island adventures , always on the lookout for a new species, this book cannot be surpassed as a tool!
Dec 04, 2007 Louis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any birder in E. North America
Shelves: nature
This is the famed Peterson's Guide. It is illustrated using paintings by Roger Tory Peterson. In a nice touch, the incomplete plate (page with the painting of birds) that he was working on when he died is found in the preface by his wife, and the forward references the completed version that was completed by a friend for inclusion in this Fifth edition.

The plates include lines that indicate field marks. The actual mark descriptions are in the short paragraph that is with each bird. Between 4 and
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This book was owned by my mother--who was the nature lover and birder in the family. She found more to watch then you might expect living in New York City. We lived near Central Park, which is something of a bird sanctuary. This book taught her a lot that she passed on to me, Though I'm by no means the naturist she was, I do appreciate the way this book made me more aware of the birds around me. I was oblivious before to all but the pigeons ("rock doves" in this book) and sparrows. After this I ...more
Mark Rigney
What was it Irma Thomas used to say?

Ah, I remember now. "Simply the Best."

I need three tools to be a good birder. Binoculars, patience, and Peterson's.
This is far and away the best birding book ever written. Roger Tory Peterson knew birds better than Audubon and his artwork and pinpoint perfect descriptions and maps are beyond excellent. I have been a birdwatcher for over 30 years and have relied exclusively on his book the entire time. My original copy is well-worn and well-loved with dates beside each bird I've have a new copy, but keep grabbing the old one because it is like a dear, old friend.
Greg Majewski
Plain and simple, this book is how I got so interested in birds. There may be newer, "better" field guides available today, but Peterson will always be my go-to. Even if you are not a birder, perusing the illustrations will leave you in awe of the hundreds (thousands?) of birds around you that you never knew about and then make you point and yell "Hey! I've seen that before!"
I remember looking through my mom's Peterson guide--it's old, it's hard-bound, with a green cloth cover--and finding the color plates fascinating. The pictures Peterson painted help me to identify birds far better than any of the photographs used in other guides. This edition will not disappoint if you prefer the illustrations to the photographs.
J'ai tellement feuilleté ce livre-là quand j'étais petite, j'ai appris au moins la moitié des oiseaux du livre ! Si j'arrive à reconnaître autant d'oiseaux, c'est grâce aux heures que j'ai passé à regarder le livre encore et encore quand j'avais à peine 10 ans !
The Peterson guides have always been right at the top, both for ease of identification and for ease of use. I am waiting for the bird calls to be inserted with each remnant dinosaur, right there with the picture. Juveniles excepted. Probably coming, but not soon.
I also have an older ed., a yardsale find, so I can always have one in the car and one in the house. Identifying birds has made me a better observer of the physical world and on adventures in the surrounding area gives me a sense of wildness in the world.
After going to the Spring Bird Festival at Tommy Thompson Park yesterday, I realize that the names in this version might be outdated. See "Oldsquaw," which is now called Long-Tailed Duck. Also, the descriptions are pretty succinct.
Tofu Fairy
I have had this field guide for many years and love love love it. It is still my go-to place to help id any bird that I have never seen before or am unsure of. GREAT reference for any birder, novice or green.
"Common Loon. Gavia immer. Voice: in breeding season, falsetto wails, weird yodeling, maniacal quavering laughter; at night, a tremulous ha-oo-oo. In flight, a barking kwuk. Usually silent in nonbreeding season. "
A nice book to own, but not very useful as a field guide given the current options in the market. The text is still useful as a reference for looking up field marks, but the taxonomic information is a bit outdated.
Bella Richardson
Trying to expand my knowledge, and I find that I can spend hours just looking out the window for some new birdie to fly past me. Great book for figuring out who that birdie may be!
David Stegmiller
The edition in my collection is titled "A field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies"---with the same ISBN number. Peterson was a friend of my grandfather.
Katie Boord
This is definitely my favorite bird guide I own. It's filled with accurate illustrations and clear descriptions, and has helped me many a time in the field.
Of all my field guides, this is the one I take to the field. Superb illustrations and comparisons with similar birds make it easy to use. Highly recommended.
Myra Khan
A great guide to wild birds. Hats off to Peterson, the master of key identifying characteristics in the field.
A great reference, and small enough to take in a purse or backpack! Lots of info!
I have used this guide many years. I like that it has calls listed for the birds.
Yes, I read, re-read and reference this book all the time. It's perfect.
David Mccarrick
This is a field guide; very useful. Good book for beginners.
Cyber Trout
There are lots of birding guides published. There is only one to use.
Apr 03, 2011 Sally rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beginning and advanced birders
Shelves: birds
This is still the best and most useful bird guide.
Indispensable companion to my hikes in the Michigan woods.
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Roger Tory Peterson was an American naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator, and held to be one of the founding inspirations for the 20th century environmental movement.
More about Roger Tory Peterson...

Other Books in the Series

Peterson Field Guides (1 - 10 of 54 books)
  • A Field Guide to Western Birds: A Completely New Guide to Field Marks of All Species Found in North America West of the 100th Meridian and North of Mexico
  • A Field Guide to Shells: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies
  • A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies
  • Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America
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  • Ferns of Northeastern and Central North America
  • A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs: Northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-central Canada
A Field Guide to Western Birds: A Completely New Guide to Field Marks of All Species Found in North America West of the 100th Meridian and North of Mexico Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America Wild America: The Record of a 30,000 Mile Journey Around the Continent by a Distinguished Naturalist and His British Colleague Audubon's Birds Of America

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