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A Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America

(Peterson Field Guides #1)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,611 ratings  ·  55 reviews
The best-selling field guide since 1934, the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America features clear, succinct accounts of more than 500 species, accurate and beautiful paintings on 159 color plates, and 512 maps annotated with extensive range information, making this the most accessible field guide for bird watchers in eastern North America. ...more
Unknown Binding, 6th Edition, 464 pages
Published March 14th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1980)
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 ·  1,611 ratings  ·  55 reviews


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Jennifer Blakeslee
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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."
C.
My late husband and I had a blast using this book while observing the birds at our backyard feeders when we lived in the country. Highly recommended for bird watchers.
Louis
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
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
max
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jason
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mark Carey
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, books-i-own
For me this is the quintessential bird guide. My copy has little bits of post-it sticking out all over. I recommend it to anyone who loves watching birds.
PoachingFacts
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: novice and intermediate birders, naturalists
Peterson's A Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America (Sixth Edition), attributed to Roger Tory Peterson, was most recently published in 2010. Peterson Field Guides compete directly with The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America: Second Edition and Princeton Field Guides on similar areas of focus, although there may not be a direct equivalent for North American birds from Princeton Field Guides. It also competes to a degree with the National Audubon Societys field ...more
Christopher
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must have guide if you live in or are traveling to the Eastern and Central North America area. With numerous birds visiting daily to my backyard, this resource is always within arms reach, usually sitting next to a camera. Pictures are bright making identification easy and the book is laid out in a very easy to use format.
Theresa
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!
Mike Shugart
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must have for birders.
Natalie Olsen
good reference for birdfeeder watching
Cynthia
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
This guide can't be beat for helping new birders identify what is in their yard.
Has my Life List in it!
DRugh
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Classic and very well organized reference. Highly recommended!
Robert
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The all time great bird book to beat all bird books. Even fits in your pocket!
Dane
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sonja Bays
This is my "go-to" book for identifying birds. A "must" for every bird-lover. It's a reference book, you know, so I'll never really finish reading it.
Em Rain
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Great field guide to help me with birding and my ornithology class!
Pat
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative and simple to use, even for the non-birder.
Jerry M
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: field-guides
This edition is a bit long in the tooth, but it is the one I carry in my car. It fits into a large pocket of my light weight jacket and it is easy to carry. It is also extremely well made. I dropped my previous copy into the water more than once and my current copy is about 15 years old.

Peterson was a better artist than Sibley and he was better served by his printer. If you see the most recent Sibley you would be appalled at the way it was printed. Peterson's system of field marks is the best
...more
Suzyberry
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 seen...now have a new copy, but keep grabbing the old one because it is like a dear, old friend.
Paul
I own many many field guilds. This is the guild that everyone told me that I should get and use, but frankly I have never really liked it. If someone were new to birds I would suggest the Kaufman (my favorite) or if you were just wanted something to stay in the house I would go with the Crossley (which I think may be better if you were completely new).

Beautiful art though.
Karen
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Greg Majewski
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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!"
Patrick\
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guides
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.
Charles
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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. "
Sharlette Kneer
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Bird Guide although a newer edition may have more accurate range maps and information. Only downside is I prefer photos to drawings, but the drawings in this book were very detailed and realistic. It is a great reference for a birdwatcher.
Karena
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, nature
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.
Diane
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tofu Fairy
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.

Other books in the series

Peterson Field Guides (1 - 10 of 54 books)
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  • A Field Guide to Shells: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies
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  • A Peterson Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals
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  • A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs: Northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-central Canada

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