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Review: National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer

Title: National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Author: Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer
Year Published: 2018, 7th edition

Genre: Adult non-fiction
Pages: 512
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map): North America

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for an honest review

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): This fully revised and updated edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market.

Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithologists' Union taxonomy. With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists, this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada.

The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species. Sixteen new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations, 80 new maps, and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy updated to recent significant scientific rearrangement, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will stand at the top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.


Purchase Links: National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Review: I need to admit up front admit that my father is the one who is doing this review. While I have looked at this book and love the bird images and the maps, my dad has looked through the book very closely and probably will continue to do so almost every day for the many years since he is a birder.

This new edition adds much new material to what was already an outstanding guide to identifying birds in North America. It contains more than thirty new species and more than 700 new illustrations and maps than the previous edition, which was published 6 years ago. It describes more bird species--1,023--than any other North American guide, including those species that have only ever been seen on a very few occasions. The drawings of the birds are beautiful and jump out from the page, especially the hummingbirds.

But its virtues go far beyond exhaustive coverage. Its introduction crisply compresses an impressive amount of crucial information about birds, their various plumages, and how to identify them. The guide is easy to use: for each species, two facing pages contain the illustrations, distribution maps, and text describing each species, its voice and range. If you have used the previous version, the sequence of bird orders and families will be in part unfamiliar because it follows the new (2016) bird taxonomy. But a handy index inside the book covers makes finding birds easy. It is small enough (8” x 5.5” by 1.1” thick) to carry in the field; but the paper is high-quality and the book is a bit heavy for the pocket. This is an exceptionally good field guide: if you get it, you will need no other.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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