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The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

4.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 650 bird species plus regional populations found eas ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.64  · 
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 ·  1,359 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Logan Hughes
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birds
I did a side by side comparison of this, the Peterson field guide, and the Audubon field guide, and I liked this one the best. The illustrations are clear and, for the birds I knew, seemed to capture the spirit of the bird in an easy-to-identify way. Important features and field marks are pointed out in the illustrations. There are pages with helpful comparisons for similar or easily-confused birds, like hawks and warblers. It's compact and densely packed with useful information.

The Peterson gu
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birds
Have this as a reference
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, wildlife, birds
This is my primary field guide, the one I take with me when I'm birdwatching. ...more
M. Sarki
A guidebook certainly to find its lofty place within my other treasures. My good friend in Florida remarked yesterday, "Birds offer free entertainment", and I could not agree more. A little late in life for me to find a new interest in identifying birds, but owning a cabin in northern Michigan and a small house near the Indian River estuary here in Melbourne provides ample opportunities for a budding familiarity. Filled with detailed information and illustrations, this book should offer years of ...more
Jonathan Hiskes
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Learning Michigan birds with my 8-year-old son has been one of the joys of this quarantine season, and Sibley's book has advanced our learning wonderfully. It's got beautifully detailed artwork and loads of information organized smartly. His intro on beginning at birding is surprisingly good, starting with the delightful first tip: "Look at the bird." In other words, study the book at home, not in the field; if you bury your head in the book when you see a bird, you'll miss it. So much wisdom st ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Sibley's illustrations, and I realized my Western Field Guide was not quite as useful on the other side of the Rockies. I am looking forward to some more travels with this. ...more
Nice size for a big back pocket. Illustrations are extremely detailed. I'm new to birding and found it fairly easy to identify birds within groups using the summaries at the beginning of each group and the accompanying seasonal maps. I also had fun checking birds off in the checklist index in the back.

And, I ran into some real birdwatchers in the Everglades and they complimented me on this book.

So there.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
If you don't want to pack around the big comprehensive Sibley with you on your outdoor jaunts, then having the western and eastern guides is the way to go. These are excellent field guides and hold up pretty well over the years. ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Sibley is indispensable. This is my everyday field guide while birding in the Eastern U.S. My only complaint is that the binding did not hold up very well. But that can be said for most books published these days.
Ben Ostrowsky
With around 700 species and half a continent to cover, the text gets small to make room for excellent illustrations of different morphs, flight silhouettes, etc., crammed in at 2 per page. Bring your reading glasses!
Jessie (saxgrl1)
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Always my go to book for bird ID. The different seasonal plumage illustrations as especially helpful for shorebirds and seabirds.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best field guides I've tried. The introductory material is hugely helpful and the illustrations and descriptions are well done. Highly recommended for beginning birdwatchers! ...more
Jessica Lowery
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science
My favorite field guide, and I have many.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much the perfect bird book. David Sibley is a miracle.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, my-library
For a field guide that actually works in the field a few things seem to me to be important, and this book satisfies. It is a sturdy book with sewn binding. The front and back covers have flaps that allow you to book mark pages. The pages themselves are thicker paper. The print easy to read.
Beyond that, I think this field guide would work best for a non-beginning birder. There are illustrations of birds, not pictures. So far, I’ve not found any to be truly accurate to what I’ve seen in the field
Neil Pasricha
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found a tiny yellow feather in my backyard last year and texted it to my friend Alec for identification. He replied: “Moulting season, bitch!” Unhelpful as always. But then I was like wait, what’s moulting again? Who exactly do these birds think they are shedding feathers, changing colors, sprucing themselves up and down to mate or migrate? It was infuriating trying to spot a loon last fall when they’re suddenly drab and gray. Infuriating and inconsiderate! Not breeding so no need to dress up? ...more
Susan Liles
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My go-to bird ID book!
Gale Turco
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent field guide for identification of birds.
Awesome reference!
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guide!
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good guide, but I like the Western North america guide better -- it seems more recent.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, nonfiction
Great reference for a beginning birder.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Always have one of these (regionally appropriate) bad boys on me when I'm going on nature-centric vacations. Best college class I ever took. ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hands down this is the field guide I use in the actual field. Species are arranged in groups located based of (more or less) overall relatedness, but within groups arrangement keeps in mind what is likely to be confused for what else.

Each species has a blurb that typically gives this info: How common it is; where you are likely to see it; is it likely to be alone or with other; Diet; physical description or behaviors of note; voice, as well as normal stuff like range maps and measurements.

Anne K.
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: new and old birders
Shelves: reference
This is my "take with" bird book. One of the things I really like about it is that each group of birds has a overview page which shows smaller pictures of all the birds. It makes it very easy to compare sizes and prominent features so you can rule out some birds without having to flip through the book quite as much.

Of course, Sibley's art is quite good, expressive without being distracting. Like most bird books, he creates a sort of mean or average picture of the bird. Recognized sub-species ar
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature-guides
This is the bird book I use most often. I agree with the previous reviewer that its main flaw is that it's very liberal in its interpretation of "Eastern" and I often have to wade through several birds I have almost zero chance of seeing here to compare the similar ones that I am likely to see. However, overall the book is an excellent guide, and the one I am most likely to give as a gift to friends who want a good guide for identifying birds while hiking/etc. ...more
A.D. Morel
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: natural-history
This is the field guide to beat most of my other field guides. I like it so much, and if I'm checking around through the bird books, this one is near the top of the pile if not on the top. For handy, the Golden Guide is more likely to go in my pack, but this one has such great illustrations and excellent information. It's a must-have for me. ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This is a fine bird guide that you will refer to for years to come. It’s compact enough to carry with you outdoors, but comprehensive enough to keep on your bookshelf. Very nice illustrations accompany the entries.
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birds
As someone who has recently become a birdwatcher, and loves to acquire books, I've got a couple (OK, more than a couple) other field guides. But this is my favorite and the one that I carry with my bins. The illustrations are just amazing. ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family
I "grew up" on the Peterson guide and The Golden Guide to Birds, and I have those books also. But David Sibley's book is SO comprehensive, informative, and wonderful that I had to buy this one, also!

If you are at all interested in birds, I think this book is a Must Own.
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