Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Bird Guides & Books


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 KyRose91

KyRose91

    KyRose91

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 217 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 06:39 AM

I recently purchased "National Audubon Society The Sibley Guide To Birds."  Its' list price is $35, but using google checkout, I paid a total of $11.35, including it being shipped.  I think it's a fantastic guide; I am very happy with the purchase.  The illustrations include male, female, juvenile, breeding plumage, in flight with wings up & down, etc.  I also have a "Birds of Kentucky Field Guide" by Stan Tekiela.  It has 112 of the most common birds, has excellent photographs, & has an interesting section called "Stans notes."

I'm wondering what guides everyone else uses, & what they like best about them.  I'm also curious if anyone has the Eastern/Western editions of Sibley's Guides, & what they like about them.



#2 Possumbird55

Possumbird55

    Possumbird55

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,852 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 08:43 AM

The only real field guide I have is Peterson's for Central/East N. Am and I love it because it groups all the sparrows together but also separates them by those with clear bellies, streaked, etc and also does a good job with those confusing Fall warblers and shows juveniles and winter plumage and range maps
I have other coffee table-type books that I use if I need to help ID a bird from somewhere else in the US but mostly I use the Peterson's.  I would love to get a Sibley's too though so I may check into what you did with Google checkout

#3 joshc

joshc

    joshc

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:51 AM

I have many, and I mean MANY bird guides and bird books.  My favorite general field guides are the Sibley guide and the National Geographic 5th edition special edition.

I also have the Western version of the Sibley guide ( I am in western MT ), and it is great! Smaller and easier to carry around.  Illustrations are limited though.  In the full sized one, you would have the juvenile, nonbreeding Male and Female, and breeding M and F.  In the regional ones, you may have the juvenile, Breeding M, and Nonbreeding F, or some other combo.  It is still really great all around.

If some of you are interested in specific guides to the more tricky bird groups, there are some wonderful guides out there.

I have "The Shorebird Guide" and "Gulls of the Americas"   They are the best EVER!!  They are a must for even casual birders.  They are really great. 



#4 Possumbird55

Possumbird55

    Possumbird55

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,852 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 01:09 PM

I started not to bring this up because it might be opening up a 'can of worms' but I think I will anyway since it might make for some lively discussion.  In my 'googling' for different field guides I came across a comment about the Sibley guide having the Dark-eyed Junco classified incorrectly as a Finch instead of a Sparrow.  is this a big deal or not and if so, is it something to consider when purchasing a field guide.  I don't have a Sibley so I don't know first hand if this is true or not but was just wondering. 

#5 Ephily

Ephily

    Ephily

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,181 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 03:46 PM

I use the Sibley's Field Guides, I have the Eastern and Western versions, but I would like to purchase the 'big' guide eventually. I also have the National Geographic guid, but I rarely use it, relying mostly on Sibley.

Valleygirl, the Dark-eyed Junco is indeed a sparrow, and listed as such. In fact, it is right between the White-throated Sparrow and the Lapland Longspur.



#6 spottedowl

spottedowl

    spottedowl

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 04:08 PM

I mostly use National Geographic 5th edition and Eastern Sibley's. Both are good guides.I  have a second edition Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds and an old Peterson's guide to birds of Europe (I don't use these for identification very often).  I also have Audubon's  Birds of North America , a big illustrated book of North American birds (I can't remember the name), an encyclopedia of world birds, and a neat photo habitat bird guide called Birding.


#7 KyRose91

KyRose91

    KyRose91

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 217 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:44 PM

Valleygirl, don't hesitate to put an idea out there!  That's why we post here--to get other's input, ideas, & to discuss things.  And, most importantly, learn something new!  Smile

Please bear with me if I am a bit too detailed or bird-brained; I just want to relay the information as accurately as I can, as I comprehend it!  (And, please, anyone feel free to add or correct this, so many can learn something new!) 

I tried to research what you had read, & this is the best I figured out:

Under the classification system for all animals, all birds are the Class 'Aves.'  Next, we have the Order.  The Order, 'Passeriformes,'  often referred to as perching birds, includes many of our common backyard birds.  Then, we have the Family, 'Emberizidae,' which includes some species of buntings, brush-finches, longspurs, sparrows, towhees, all juncos, etc..  (The brush-finches in this family are not in North America but Central & South America, unlike the finches we know; the house, Cassin's, & purple finch are in the family 'Carpodacus.' )  Perhaps this is where a bit of confusion may arrive.  Where the debate occurs is in the next classification steps, Genus & Genera, most specifically, the Genera.  

Basically, the all Juncos are in the family 'Emberizidae.'  In Sibley's Guide, they are arranged by families, & are listed in the 'Emberizadae' family, as they should be.  I think he is staying with what is known & undisputed, by grouping the birds by family.  As well, most of us learning to identify birds Geekedcan appreciate them being grouped this way, with common names.

I thank you all, in advance, for your input!  No matter how insignificant, or controversial you may think it is, it really helps people who have 1 thing in common-- love of birds!

Valleygirl, by the way, I did get a fantastic buy on the Sibley's guide.  I will say that if you live in the good ole USA, for $11.35, it is a fabulous bargain!  This is the link to go to, & you must sign up for google checkout, which gives you the $10 off.  You do not have to ever use it again, but it is free to use!

 http://www.buy.com/p...6/30635076.html

This is the buy.com link, but if you look in the right hand column, you will see a place called a-1 books, with a sell price of $21.35.  With your $10 off, it will end up being $11.35.  Now, the only thing to keep in mind is that I think they ship USPS media mail, so it takes a couple days longer, but at $11.35 for a $35 book, (even though I was dying with anticipation,) who can really complain?!

I will add, just in case, that I am only a consumer; I don't personally know a-1 books; just ordered from them off of buy.com, which I am an occasional (happy) customer!  If anyone experiences any trouble with the ordering process, just message me & I will do my best to help out.

Finally, anyone who has this guide, the Eastern/Western edition, or any other guide they use, please let me know about them!  I want a small handful, & I need direction with good ones to own; otherwise, I'll just check the others out from my library!  Thanks!   

 



#8 KyRose91

KyRose91

    KyRose91

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 217 posts

Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:59 PM

The 'National Geographic 5th Edition' looks nice!  ($15.79 including shipping isn't horribly expensive; I like that!)   The Peterson's Guide is available for only $13.60 including shipping; also very nice!)  If you don't mind me asking, what do you like best about each guide? 

#9 spottedowl

spottedowl

    spottedowl

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts

Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:50 AM

National geographic features  the most species and has pictures that you don't need a magnifying glass to see. Peterson's (like valleygirl mentioned) is well organized and the I'm pretty sure that some of the editions,at least the second one ,has several pages of bird silhouettes.


#10 nanaku

nanaku

    nanaku

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 184 posts
  • Locationcentral Kansas

Posted 01 May 2008 - 09:58 PM

ok i'm a newbie.  i read over the thread and don't have a clue where to start.

i went and looked over some of the books mentioned above and my head is swimming.

i don't know how long i will be "birding".  however i do think i'm addicted. lol

what is a good "starter" book? i mostly sit  and watch birds out my window.  i occaisionnally get my binocculars out and watch th birds also.

wish i could take pictures thru them!

thanks



#11 Possumbird55

Possumbird55

    Possumbird55

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,852 posts

Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:33 AM

Nanaku, Personally I feel the Peterson's is the best because it shows silhouettes of large birds while flying, it groups warblers together and so you can see them all at the same time since they can be so confusing.  It also is good about showing pics of winter and juvenile plumage and it has a section of the range maps too and other good info. 

Oh, they do make binoculars that take picture too I think maybe Simmons makes them.  I'm sure there are others, too.  Not sure how good they are but it might be worth looking into.



#12 Possumbird55

Possumbird55

    Possumbird55

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,852 posts

Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:44 AM

Nanuku, here is a link to the top 5 bino/camera combos if you want to check them out http://cameras.about.../binoculars.htm

#13 cnybirder

cnybirder

    cnybirder

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,205 posts
  • LocationFoothills of the Tug Hill Plateau, Central NY

Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:05 AM

Nanuka: If I were just starting out I would get either Sibley's Eastern Birds or National Geographic Field Guide. Peterson's and Kaufman's Field Guides are also good but I prefer Sibley and NG.


#14 spottedowl

spottedowl

    spottedowl

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts

Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:18 PM

     Okay:

  Sibley Guide to birds - excellent illustrated guide, each species is shown in 6 to 8 drawings (including females, in-flight, juveniles, variations, etc). It is rather large and heavy, so it is difficult to carry in the field. Eastern or Western versions of this guide are smaller, but have a few less illustrations.

    National Geographic fifth edition- Very good illustrated guide. Each species is shown in several drawings (including females, in-flight, juveniles, variations, etc).  It covers the most species of any guide mentioned here. It also has a quick find index which is helpful.

   Peterson Field Guides -  ( I am referring to the original illustrated ones, not the new " Peterson inspired photo guides".)                          

Each species is shown in several drawings (including females, juveniles, etc) Great illustrations.  The first and possibly most trusted field guide.

  Kaufman Guide to Birds of North America-  Good guide, made up of  digitally edited/enhanced  photos.
 



#15 judyw71

judyw71

    judyw71

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 79 posts

Posted 09 May 2008 - 06:00 AM

I have The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.  Things I like about this book are:

1.Inside front cover are illustrations of parts of standing bird, head feathers and markings, parts of flying bird ( I am new to birding and don't have all the anatomy memorized yet), and key to the range maps.

2.Each Family section begins with a page or two of all the species of the family so it is easy to compare sizes.

3.Not on every page but throughout the book are extra info boxes: Example: page 249, IDs the Hairy Woodpecker and then in a box below titled: Woodpecker Climbing Motions. On the opposite page there is a box comparing Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker Western Subspecies.

I also have National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America which is my favorite. I pick it up first to ID a new bird because:

1. Thumb index.

2. Back flap is a quick find index.

3. The pictures are larger and the colors seem more photo-like.

4. Wonderful four page spread of Female Hawks in flight. 

Hope this helps.

judyw71



#16 Nu_2_Birding

Nu_2_Birding

    Nu_2_Birding

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 33 posts

Posted 01 September 2008 - 08:29 PM

I'm new as well and recently went to the local bookstore and compared quite a few field guides...peterson's...sibley's...kauffman's and the Smithsonian.

 

Loved the Smithsonian guide...even included a CD with 587 calls for 140 different species...you can download to computer and upload to an ipod to take into field which might help with ID.

 

Just a thought



#17 Jim Penny

Jim Penny

    Jim Penny

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 01 September 2008 - 09:02 PM

I bought the "used" Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America a few years ago over the Internet.  I just did a Search for the book I wanted and then took the best price.  I bought it before taking a trip to Yellowstone in 2006.

I also have the 1961 copyrighted version of A Field Guide to Western Birds by Roger Tory Peterson.  I like it and it features his system of identifying key points on a each bird.  However, not all pictures are in color.  But, that may not be a bad thing.

I have the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds.  I have both the Eastern and Western.  These Guides use actual photos of the birds.  They are 1977 copyright version that I think I bought through a book club.

I also have the Golden Field Guide, Birds of North America.  It was published in 2001 and I believe it was about $16.  This is the full 359 page Guide and not the kid's guide of just common birds.  I sought this one out in an attempt to find a copy of the book that I had used beginning in the 60's.  I wore the covers off of it and the replacement covers.  It eventually came apart.  

I also have a coffee-table size book with plates of birds painted by Audubon along with a lengthy life history of each bird.

I often use the Golden Field Guide along with one of the Audubon Guides in order if needed to compare the painted picture to a real photo.  Sometimes I take all my Guides but general only carry two.



#18 eric

eric

    eric

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • LocationNew Jersey

Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:47 PM

> Loved the Smithsonian guide

Yep, I bought it specifically for the bird call recordings, though recently I felt the need to buy a more regional specific group of recordings to fill in some gaps.

One thing I like about the Smithsonian is it tells the molt strategy for each bird (simple basic, complex basic, etc), and also the ABA code.

However, although my initial bias was to have a photo-based guide, I now highly prefer Sibley's illustrations to identify birds; I find Sibley more instructive in what to look for, which hones how you look at birds overall, as well as a more useful layout for IDing.



#19 eric

eric

    eric

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • LocationNew Jersey

Posted 06 October 2008 - 03:01 PM

Review of the Petersen guide, with an eye toward the history, is here:  http://birdfreak.com...-north-america/

 



#20 beardiedawg

beardiedawg

    beardiedawg

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 26 December 2008 - 05:11 PM

It's interesting to see that many people like the illustrated guides better.  I have Stokes field guides that I love.  I will have to take a look at Sibley's now.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users