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National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
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National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  723 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Using classification and scientific common names based on the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list, this guide is organized for easy reference. All known species are covered
Paperback, Fifth Edition, 464 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 1987)
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This is one of the most amazing books for birdwatchers. I used it for all of my ornithology classes and learned so much about identifying birds by both their markings and behavior. I had this unbelievable teacher, who had been a birdwatcher for all his life, and he went through the guide, page by page, and he showed us slides and talked about each species with a depth of knowledge that was devotional. I learned how to tell all the different gulls apart at Ocean Beach (San Francisco) and saw a re ...more
Anna Nesterovich
It is the best field guide to American birds I found so far. It contains recognisable pictures; distribution maps for all birds that are more than just unexpected visitors; fair descriptions; and some notes on voices. Unlike the vast majority of American field guides, it offers species according to taxonomy, not "color" or habitat.

Still, the book is very disappointing after European field guides, by Collins for example. It offers very little, if any, information on habitat and behaviour and alto
Anne K.
This is my trusty battered, mud stained bird book and I love it. The pictures are detailed, the descriptions short and concise, and there's enough space in the margins for me to write sighting notations.
While I haven't actually read through this book from cover to cover (I'm using the sixth edition), it has proven itself extremely useful. I spent quite some time reading about the various field guides online and thought I had decided on the best option. Then I went to our local bookstore to flip through the options they had (including the Sibley, Stokes, Kaufman, and a few other guides), and this one really stood out from the rest. What I love about the book are the quick indexes on the front an ...more
I have used this book to look up birds since 1995. I have seen over 100 birds that are in this book. I took it cross country with me and it had traveled about 3000 miles
This book is about the birds of North America. It talks about how to find, identify, and the age. This book takes you through the world of birds.As you read the book it will tell you where the type of bird lives. Which you way think it is odd because a bird can go any where, but some birds have certain environments that they can only live in. There are some birds that come here from other countries as well. I think the type of people that would really like this book is bird watchers or people th ...more
Most informative and well written. This is a great book to get a start and/ or to brush up on your facts of Bird species in North America.
Linda Jenkinson
This is the perfect book for identifying that bird in your back yard or to take along camping or on a Sunday walk through a wooded park.
My favorite birding guide book. It has great pictures and descriptions. The blurbs with the range maps is fantastic and it has a lot of incidental species to South Texas (at least) that a lot of guide books lack since they are not "common enough", I guess.

There's a handy checklist in the back if you want to check off species as you see them, but since I'm a much more casual birder, I just write in the white space next to the bird where and when I saw it for the first time.
Sep 13, 2007 T rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: birders
Shelves: birds, reference
Can't live without this one--it goes everywhere with me. I've since updated and bought the 4th and 5th editions, but all of my birding notes are still in this very worn copy. An excellent field guide, in my opinion. I supplement it with The Sibley Guide to Birds, which stays at home while I drag the Ntl. Geographic guide with me.
This reference is great. In past editions it was difficult to find specific birds, but the combination of durable flap index and thumb tabs for the most frequent bird families (hawks, warblers, sparrows, etc.) make it super easy to use.

The written descriptions are fairly brief so the focus is on the drawings. The drawings are detailed and mostly include those of the different races, juveniles, and birds in flight.
Greg Brozeit
Finally finished reading this cover-to-cover after a year of about a page a day plus many reread parts as I tried to identify birds. Anyone in North American interested in finding out more about the birds around them should own this book. Great illustrations, great facts, and great insight to help appreciate the world around us.
Great bird guide. This one got me through my Vertebrates of BC course at school. The pictures are drawn, with different variations included when necessary (male, female, summer, winter, etc.). Birds are separated by family (gulls, finches, owls, etc.) Colour coded distribution map is also included for most species, very handy.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
We use this as a back up guide that is handy for those visiting both coasts of the United States since it contains the birds on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, a divide in the country that has lead to different species of birds like Meadowlarks and Bluebirds. It has good details on the hawks, too.
A very detailed book of birds. I don't know enough about the field to know how it compares to it's competitors, but the book does everything I want it to do. It has really come in handy with identifying all of those birds eating out of my birdfeeder.
Stanley Hall
I wish I had the newest edition of this book. I've been carrying around this edition for almost 20 years and it is the best guide that I've come across. I have several other guides and I use them to complement this one.
This detailed and handy field guide is a wonderful hiking companion. The full colored illustrations remove the guess work while identifying birds, and the range maps are accurate and trustworthy.
Mar 17, 2007 adriana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: birders, nature-walkers
my field guide of choice. fairly life-like renderings of the species with gendered, age-specific and seasonal plumages included. most importantly, small enough to carry without being burdensome.
David Mccarrick
This is not a typical book from goodreads, but I have read it and used it extensively when I needed it. This book was very helpful in solving some of the harder identifications.
this book is amazing I have spent hours reading the discripions of different speicies. This book has helped me reilixe that I may want to be an ornithologist. I love birds.
I use this book when going birding with the Audubon or to identify birds when camping or traveling. I keep track of my Audubon bird list in it. It is a good guide.
This is a great field guide, but sometimes I have a little trouble identifying the real bird from the drawings, but at least they have all stages of a birds life
I want to look birds up by state and color and size--this is a little more challenging than that, but it's very helpful. And it makes me feel smart :)
Jul 23, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All birders
Recommended to Valerie by: Debbie
Between this book and Newman's Birds of Southern Africa are contained my life list and viewing notes. I would be lost without this excellent reference book.
Jul 30, 2007 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: birds
Quite the tome to carry around. A good reference, that I have used when travelling outside of the eastern US, but difficult to use in the field.
Still my field guide of choice, well the 3rd edition is, in spite of new editions and Sibley's. This is the book I like to carry around.
Invaluable to any it countless times during the year especially helpful identifying hawks and warblers. One of my Top 10!
This is the best of my bird guides. It contains more specimens than my other birding books and includes better descriptions.
Apr 14, 2008 Julie added it
This is the bible of bird watching. I was turned on to bird watching when I married Kevin and I love it.
Joyce Lagow
Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Second Edition by National Geographic Society (1999)
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