• Paperback: 592 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic; 7 edition (September 12, 2017)
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.
I use field guides almost daily within my career and personal life and know the value of a good field guide. For bird field guides alone, I have almost an entire shelf dedicated to different types of field guides. Each type of field guide fulfills a different role. The National Geographic Field Guides have always held a special place with their comprehensive content and wonderful illustrations. The newest edition of National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America does not disappoint. The first thing I look for in a field guide is how the birds are organized and how I will be able to find what I am looking for. This edition follows our new understanding of bird lineages and categorizes families accordingly, at first glance this offers no huge changes for the birds I usually look for, but might throw me for a loop when looking for something new. There are several ways to find birds in the guide including a quick find index in the front flap of major groups of birds in alphabetical order, visual guides on fold-out flaps, an index, contents and a thumb guide along the side. The quick-find index worked best for me and the visual guides are a huge asset to new bird-lovers.
As always, the illustration quality is superb and shows the average bird while pointing out special features and identifying markers. Male and female sexual dimorphism is illustrated as well as differences in juvenile and adult birds. Range maps have been updated and are color coded and keyed for easy use. The information that accompanies each illustration includes size of the bird, descriptions of markings, the call or voice of each bird and description of the range. Since this is a field guide for the entirety of North America, I would not choose this as my everyday field guide when I know I will only be seeing birds that would be covered in a more compact field guide; however, due to the extensive knowledge and expansive details compiled in National Geographic's Field Guide to Birds of North America, this is always my go to guide for traveling out of my local area.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.