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    $16.50 $15.65 list($25.00)
    1. The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail
    $18.48 $17.89 list($28.00)
    2. The Singing Life of Birds : The
    $230.00 $49.44
    3. Birds in Brazil
    $23.10 $20.50 list($35.00)
    4. The Sibley Guide to Birds
    $17.16 $16.50 list($26.00)
    5. Why Birds Sing: A Journey Through
    $13.60 $12.95 list($20.00)
    6. The Race to Save the Lord God
    $15.36 $9.99 list($21.95)
    7. National Geographic Field Guide
    $13.57 $12.90 list($19.95)
    8. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds
    $19.98 $14.19
    9. The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher:
    $14.96 $14.28 list($22.00)
    10. A Field Guide to the Birds of
    $19.80 $19.69 list($30.00)
    11. Birding by Ear: Eastern and Central
    $13.57 $11.90 list($19.95)
    12. National Audubon Society Field
    $19.77 $19.71 list($29.95)
    13. Sharks of the World (Princeton
    $14.95 $13.95
    14. Bird Song Ear Training Guide:
    $14.96 $10.00 list($22.00)
    15. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph
    $29.70 $28.95 list($45.00)
    16. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life
    $13.57 $9.89 list($19.95)
    17. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds
    $10.85 $6.00 list($15.95)
    18. Birds of North America : A Guide
    $52.00 $30.10
    19. A Field Guide to the Birds of
    $20.39 $19.68 list($29.98)
    20. Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs:

    1. The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
    by Tim Gallagher
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618456937
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-18)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 803
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    What is it about the ivory-billed woodpecker? Why does this ghost of the southern swamps arouse such an obsessive level of passion in its devotees, who range from respected researchers to the flakiest Loch Ness monster fanatics and Elvis chasers?
    Since the early twentieth century, scientists have been trying their best to prove that the ivory-bill is extinct. But every time they think they've finally closed the door, the bird makes an unexpected appearance. It happened in the 1920s, and it's happened in almost every subsequent decade.
    For more than 60 years, each sighting has been met with ridicule and scorn. Respected researchers and naturalists have been branded as quacks just for having the temerity to say that the ivory-bill still exists. Yet the reports still trickle in. Is there any truth to these sightings, or are they just a case of wishful thinking, misidentification, or outright fabrication?
    To unravel the mystery, author Tim Gallagher heads south, deep into the eerie swamps and bayous of the vast Mississippi Delta, searching for people who claim to have seen this rarest of birds and following up—sometimes more than 30 years after the fact—on their sightings. He meets a colorful array of characters: a cigar-chomping ex-boxer who took two controversial pictures of an alleged ivory-bill in 1971; a former corporate lawyer who abandoned her career to search for ivory-bills full time; two men who grew up in the ivory-bill's last known stronghold in a final remnant of primeval forest in Louisiana.
    With his buddy Bobby Harrison, a true son of the South from Alabama, Gallagher hits the swamps, wading through hip-deep, boot-sucking mud and canoeing through turgid, mud brown bayous where deadly cottonmouth water moccasins abound. In most cases, they are clearly decades too late. But when the two speak to an Arkansas backwoods kayaker who saw a mystery woodpecker the week before and has a description of the bird that is too good to be a fantasy, the hunt is on.
    Their Eureka moment comes a few days later as a huge woodpecker flies in front of their canoe, and they both cry out, "Ivory-bill!" This sighting—the first time since 1944 that two qualified observers positively identify an ivory-billed woodpecker in the United States—quickly leads to the largest search ever launched to find a rare bird, as researchers fan out across the bayou, hoping to document the existence of this most iconic of birds.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The "Qualified Observer" speaks.
    "there are no ivory billed woodpeckers..." that was the response to an email from Cornell University several years ago I had sent, reporting a unusual sighting of another bird species. The joke was "maybe my next sighting will be an Ivory Billed Woodpecker..." Of course, I'll cut them some slack, but I have always hoped that I would see one. Who wouldn't?

    I can't think of another bird that us birders would like to see more than an IBW. How exciting that it is sighted in my homestate! However, I still couldn't help but email Cornell again and say "I told you so".

    A lot of research and precious time has gone into the production of this book and I am sure that all birders, fanatics and enthusiasts alike will enjoy Mr. Gallagher's book. Following every possible lead, he researched and interviewed people from many different walks of life to confirm their existence. You will feel an incredible sense of loss when reading about the demise of the Singer tract. Even though it will be depressing at times, you will also keep that sense of hope that maybe more will be done in the future, that maybe we have learned from our mistakes. And possibly, maybe we too will encounter this beautiful, distinctive, evasive bird in the shadows of (our minds) an old growth cypress forest.

    Maybe hope is what makes this book so special. For the Grail itself is a symbol of hope and faith. I hope that more can be done to save our precious habitats. I believe with rediscoveries more will be done.

    So keep the faith, your binoculars handy, read the book and enjoy the story, study the images and maybe the "Grail Bird" will make an appearance in a 'big woods' near you.

    A great read! A book you won't want to put down until it's finished.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the inside story of the 2004 ivory-bill sighting!
    This is a well-written insider's tale of the confirmed sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas in 2004, which amazed all of us who are even remotely interested in birds and wildlife.The last previous confirmed sighting was in 1944, in the NE corner of Louisiana, an area that was logged and destroyed later that year.Interesting, then, that the rare bird, long thought extinct, shows up just upriver in Arkansas.

    One of the things that makes Gallagher's book so good is his tracking down various unconfirmed sightings over the years.In light of what we now know, that the ivory-bill lives!, these sightings become much more plausible in retrospect.And there is a pattern that emerges -- sightings across southern Louisiana from west (Sabine River) to central (Atchafalaya Basin) to east (Pearl River).A long-lost tape has been unearthed confirming a 1966 "sighting" (hearing) in the Sabine River area of east Texas.The 850,000 acre Atchafalaya Basin was the location of several sightings in the 1970s and 1980s.A highly credible 1999 sighting in the Pearl River area led to an intensive search that found nothing.It is quite possible therefore, based on the evidence presented in this book, that the ivory-bill survives not only in the Cache and White River area of east-central Arkansas, but in the swamps of southern Lousiana as well!

    What's the moral of the story?Habitat preservation!The area in Arkansas is protected land, which was expanded by Nature Conservancy purchases between the February 2004 sightings and the recent public announcement, and protecting critical habitat in the three river basins mentioned above might well secure more elusive ivory-bill populations.Designation and protection of critical habitat is in fact mandated by the Endangered Species Act.

    The two top websites for more on the amazing ivory-bill story are The Nature Conservancy ( and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have book RE: the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed!
    This book is an amazing tale of the expeditions to rediscover the elusive (and formerly thought-to-be-extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Finding this bird (for non-birders reading this review) is the equivalent of finding Elvis Presley alive and well for music fans! And really, Tim Gallagher is the best person to have written it, having been a part of the process from day one. The storyline is good, and the humor that Tim interjects into it really made this book an easy and interesting read. I purchased this book and read it cover to cover all in the same day.

    I should also note that before this book was released, I had read "The Race To Save The Lord God Bird" by Phil Hoose, and it was also a good read, but this book pretty much picks up where the Hoose book left off in terms of current efforts and info about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

    This book is a MUST HAVE for those interested in the species, or in conservation issues in general, because the message within the story of the amazing rediscovery of this magnificent bird is that perhaps we should ALL be more mindful of conservation issues in general. On that note -- I highly recommend that you buy/read the book!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Thing to Being There
    I assumed we would have to wait a few months, or even a year, for the inside story of the rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait at all, as Tim Gallagher was simultaneously searching for the bird and working on this most excellent book. Another reviewer used the word "perfect" to describe The Grail Bird, and I think that's about right, as Gallagher has somehow arrived at the perfect mix of natural history, detective story, and memoir. It's a delicate balance, and he found it. This book won't be a best-seller, but deserves to be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ivory-billed Woodpecker: The TRUTH behind the rediscovery
    Tim Gallagher's newest book, The Grail Bird, is indeed the truth behind the rediscovery. I've been a follower of Ivory-billed Woodpecker history and sightings for several years. I've tried to read any book that has any noteworthy mention of the species within. This is the best book I have ever come across. It contains a great wealth of information on the history of the species right up to Tim's own personal sighting a little more than a year ago.

    Do you know who took the mystery photos of the 1971 Ivory-billed Woodpecker? Tim does. And, thanks to his sleuthing, now I do too. It's all in his book.

    Tim is a great writer and a great detective. He tracked down every possible lead he could find and interviewed anyone he thought may have seen an Ivory-billed Woodpecker or who knew of someone who had. His interviews and stories are very interesting with great personal lines from Tim that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. After reading his book you will come away feeling as if you were there, right alongside Tim and his friend, Bobby, on their journeys for the truth.

    I know you will thoroughly enjoy this.

    Good reading!

    ... Read more

    2. The Singing Life of Birds : The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong
    by Donald Kroodsma
    list price: $28.00
    our price: $18.48
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618405682
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 951
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Listen to birds sing as you've never listened before, as the world-renowned birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma takes you on personal journeys of discovery and intrigue.
    Read stories of wrens and robins, thrushes and thrashers, warblers and whip-poor-wills, bluebirds and cardinals, and many more bird. Learn how each acquires its songs, how songs vary from bird to bird and place to place, how some birds' singing is especially beautiful or ceaseless or complex, how some do not sing at all, how the often quiet female has the last word, and why.
    Hear a baby wren and the author's own daughter babble as each learns its local dialect. Listen to the mockingbird by night and by day and count how many different songs he can sing. Marvel at the exquisite harmony in the duet of a wood thrush as he uses his two voice boxes to accompany himself.
    Feel the extraordinary energy in the songs just before sunrise as dawn's first light sweeps across this singing planet. Hear firsthand the unmistakable evidence that there are not one but two species of marsh wrens and two species of winter wrens in North America. Learn not only to hear but to see birds sing in the form of sonagrams, as these visual images dance across the pages while you listen to the accompanying CD.
    Using your trained ears and eyes, you can begin your own journeys of discovery. Listen anew to birds in your backyard and beyond, exploring the singing minds of birds as they tell all that they know. Join Kroodsma not only in identifying but in identifying with singing birds, connecting with nature's musicians in a whole new way.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Suberb--a lovely merging of science and poetry
    I was predisposed to like this book, since I love birdsong and have long been drawn to research about it.But this book far exceeded my high expectations.Don Kroodsma takes us through the entire process of listening to a song, thinking up questions about how the species acquired it, and step by step through the process of learning the answer, setting up the sections like little mysteries.He's recognized by the American Ornithologists' Union as an authority on acquisition of birdsong, and although the book is authoritative and scientific, he somehow manages to infuse every paragraph with his own sense of wonder and joy in his subject.This book may look like a textbook, but it reads like a cross between a mystery novel and lovely poetry.I can't recommend it highly enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of Avian Bioacoustics.
    A masterpiece of avian bioacoustics (Sorry, I just had to use those words).

    I have a bird outside my window just now singing a song of some kind. I've long thought it was pretty, but thought no more acout it. Now this book has come along and my casual listening has become much more interesting. I found the bird outside my window in the book and sure enough here is a sonogram, a voice print if you will of what the bird sounds like. Further, there is a track on the CD that comes with the book that has this bird's song recorded. It's not exactly like the bird outside the window, but birds (I've learned) are individuals too.

    Birding is one of the more popular pastimes in this country, and growing quire rapidly. This book would be a supurb gift to any birder, even if you have to give it to yourself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The CD alone is worth the money!
    Just listened to an interview with the author on NPR which included a number of selections from the accompanying CD, all I can think of is 'how awesome!'The author has spent many years studying and documenting birdsong and makes me realize that what I thought I knew from growing up in the country surrounded by birdsong is a tiny fragment of what I actually was hearing.The CD includes birdsongs at normal speeds and slowed to 1/2 and 1/4 speed, which allows the listener to hear the discreet sounds.The accompanying text includes graphic description of the sounds for a clearer understanding.If you love birds, you will love this! ... Read more

    3. Birds in Brazil
    by Helmut Sick
    list price: $230.00
    our price: $230.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691085692
    Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Here is a substantially revised and updated English-language version of the only comprehensive, scientific treatment of Brazil's 1635 bird species. Written by the then dean of Brazilian ornithologists and published in Brazil in 1985, it not only lists every individual Brazilian species and provides detailed accounts for most of them but also gives an extensive treatment of the characteristics of each bird family found in the country. In addition, it analyzes the composition of Brazil's avifauna and relates it to the country's geography. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Birds in Brazil
    Birds in Brazil is a big book, beautifully produced on quality paper. It is exhaustive but never exhausting on the topic of Brazilian birds . The color illustrations are beautiful, but unfortunately they are separate from the text about the birds. That is the book's only fault. The text is in smooth and enticing English, and where the same birds are to be found migrating to the United States, the information is quite comparable in completion and interest to the American field guides of Roger T. Peterson. That leads me to believe that the information about birds that we don't experience will be equally accurate. This book is captivating and well worth the price. It is a coffee-table style book that we will be proud to use and to display. ... Read more

    4. The Sibley Guide to Birds
    by David Allen Sibley
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679451226
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1195
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    More than 10 years in the making, David Sibley's Guide to Birds is a monumental achievement. The beautiful watercolor illustrations (6,600, covering 810 species in North America) and clear, descriptive text place Sibley and his work squarely in the tradition of John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson; more than a birdwatcher and evangelizer, he is one of the foremost bird painters and authorities in the U.S. Still, his field guide will no doubt spark debate. Unlike Kenn Kaufman's Focus Guide, Sibley's is unapologetically aimed at the converted. Beginning birders may want to keep a copy of Sibley at home as a reference, but the wealth of information will have the same effect on novices as trying to pick out a single sandpiper in a wheeling flock of thousands. The familiar yellow warbler, for instance, gets no less than nine individual illustrations documenting its geographic, seasonal, and sex variations--plus another eight smaller illustrations showing it in flight. Of course, more experienced birders will appreciate this sort of detail, along with Sibley's improvements on both Peterson and the National Geographic guide:

    • As in Peterson, Sibley employs a pointer system for key field markings--but additional text blurbs are included alongside the illustrations to facilitate identification.
    • Descriptive passages on identification are more detailed than those in most other field guides. For example, Sibley includes extensive information on the famously hard-to-distinguish hawks in the genus Accipiter (sharp-shinned, Cooper's, and northern goshawk), noting differences in leg thickness and wing beat that will be of use to more advanced birders. A section on the identification of "peeps" (small sandpipers) includes tips about seasonal molting and bill length. Confusing fall warblers, Empidonax flycatchers, and Alcids receive similar treatment.
    • As previously mentioned, ample space is given to illustrations that show plumage variations by age, sex, and geography within a single species. Thus, an entire page is devoted to the red-shouldered hawk and its differing appearances in the eastern U.S., Florida, and California; similarly, gulls are distinguished by age and warblers by sex.
    • Range maps are detailed and accurate, with breeding, wintering, and migration routes clearly depicted; rare but regular geographic occurrences are denoted by green dots.
    • The binding and paper stock are of exceptional quality. Despite its 544 pages, a reinforced paperback cover and sewn-in binding allow the book to be spread out flat without fear of breaking the binding.

    Some birders will be put off by the book's size. Slightly larger than the National Geographic guide, it's less portable than most field guides and will likely spend more time in cars and desks than on a birder's person while in the field. For some it will be a strictly stay-at-home companion guide to consult after a field trip; others may want to have it handy in a fannypack or backpack. But regardless of how it is used, Sibley's Guide to Birds is a significant addition to any birding library. "Birds are beautiful," the author writes in the preface, "their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature." Pleasing, too, is this comprehensive guide to their identification. --Langdon Cook ... Read more

    Reviews (79)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful complement for my bird book library.....
    I've owned the SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRD LIFE AND BEHAVIOR for a while, and finally ordered the SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRDS to complete the set. Both books are published by Audubon, the leading name in all things involving birds--at least that is what my 87-year old Aunt Marge says, and she's been to Audubon camp on many occasions.

    The SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRDS is too heavy to take into the field--it's really a reference book. Roger Tory Petersen's guide books are the best for field work--especially when children are involved. Sibley's guides are great reference books.

    Unlike THE SMITHSONIAN HANDBOOK, Sibley's guide does not include a bird profile per page, but like the Smithsonian book and the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA the Sibley guide covers birds in the Northern Hemisphere (U.S. Canada, and Mexico). The National Geographic field guide is lighter than the Sibley guide and thus more likely to end up in the field as the title suggests, however, it is larger and more cumbersome than the Petersen guide and will probably travel in the camper trailer or glove compartment, not in your hand or back pack.

    So--use Petersen for field work, get the Smithsonian guide for extra individual detail, and buy the Sibley guide for making comparisons across species types. If you are really a bird nut, get the Sibley guide to Bird Behavior and the National Geographic bird book. The pictures in the NG book are beautiful with lots of contextual detail--i.e. the Kingfisher eating, flying etc, however, although the NG includes the range maps, it does not include the little arrows that help you identify bird idiosyncracies. The Smithsonian and Petersen guides include the arrows and maps, and the Sibley includes maps and selected arrows (not in most cases).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Every bird watcher will want this book in his or her library
    From the moment I first opened David Sibley's new field guide, I was mesmerized. It offers a compact presentation on every species of bird north of the Mexican border and is undoubtedly one of the most user-friendly guides ever developed. In many ways, Sibley takes Roger Torey Peterson's method to its logical end--a guide that capsulizes all the essential information about similar species, arraying them close to each other for comparison. But unlike Peterson, Sibley presents ample information on the many plumages of individual species which are apt to confuse even some of the most experienced birders. Sibley's art work is very appealing to the eye, and his bird potraits are all very naturally posed. He also points out distinguishing field marks with text arrayed alongside his portraits, facilitating rapid identification. His approach also offers flight views together with perched views where that is helpful.

    There are a few negatives--only a few. The book would be unwieldy to carry in the field. (Best to bring it along and leave it in the car, perhaps.) The range maps are for the most part too small to easily distinguish, especially where birds appear in only limited areas. And the description of songs and calls strike me as inferior to Peterson's, from which I've learned most of the songs and calls I know over the past 40 years.

    In comparison to the other new bird guide just published, Kenn Kaufman's "Focus Guide," I much prefer David Sibley's. While Kaufman has crammed an incredible amount of information into a small, very quickly accessible volume, Sibley's is far more useful in distinguishing between species. Kaufman's is far handier to carry along in the field, but it offers far less data on individual species than Sibley. (Although I cannot feature using this information, Sibley even gives the average weight of each species--a fascinating bit of information not readily available in most other guides.)

    In any event, if you are a person interested in birds at any level of expertise, you are bound to enjoy David Sibley's excellent new guide. Buy a copy as soon as you can!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific identification guide!
    I've been a birder for many years and began a life list around five years ago. I own many of the standard field guides. Only recently did I obtain the Sibley Guide, but it's become my favorite. I generally use Sibley and Stokes in tandem.

    1. Logical layout
    2. "Species accounts" pages offer an excellent comparative view within the group, as well as a good all-up overview of the families/genus/species, and general behavior.
    3. Individual species pages show comprehensive plumage reference art; more detailed than any I've seen. For this feature alone, the guide is worthwhile!
    4. Species pages show variants (e.g., Great Blue/Great White Heron), fledgling and/or juvenile patterns. In some cases art of eclipse plumage is a very nice bonus.
    5. Flight/wing patterns where relevant
    6. Comparison of hummingbird mating display paths
    7. Diurnal raptors section shows perched vs. in-flight underside plumage for each species. It also offers silhouette guides to help teach wing shape if plumage is light-obscured.
    8. Good geographical reference map (though smaller than ideal*)
    9. Good vocal descriptions
    10. Nice (what they refer to as) "bird topography" section
    11. Where applicable, good information on regional variations and species clines.

    1. This is not a pocket guide; it's cumbersome. I use Stokes in the field, and use Sibley at home for reference afterward.
    2. The binding on my copy isn't sturdy, particularly for something that's supposedly a field guide. I feel like I must treat the glue binding gingerly or the pages might start to fall out.
    3. Not enough text re: birding ethics & conservation (but that might just be my inner tree-hugger appearing) :)
    4. *Geographical range map is small. I imagine it'd be difficult for some people to see clearly.
    5. Migratory geographical information only covers North America. I'd like reference for migratory species (even just within text) of migration route start/finish and total annual distance. (Aside: the artic tern has the longest distance migration [Arctic to Antarctic] and can cover 22k - 30k mpy.)

    Overall, this a great reference, and I recommend it highly.

    However, to Knopf publishers/Chanticleer Press: Please ask Dai Nippon Printing Co to use better binding glue in the next edition!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Sibley classic
    A truly magnificent book, which, coupled with its companion volume, the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, provides the definitive text on American birdlife.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best of the Best!
    Mr. Sibley has created a bird guide for the 21st century. Practical, logical and incredibly informative, The Sibley Guide to Birds is the bird watchers bible. I have used this guide everyday since I purchased it and the incredible paintings make indentifying birds a joy. Concise and informative, this is the definitive guide for my favorite hobby!! I highly recommend this guide to both novice and expert alike. ... Read more

    5. Why Birds Sing: A Journey Through the Mystery of Bird Song
    by David Rothenberg
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 046507135X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-13)
    Publisher: Basic Books
    Sales Rank: 3536
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A beautiful and surprising exploration of a phenomenon that's at once familiar and baffling: the mystery of why birds sing

    The astonishing variety and richness of bird song is both an aesthetic and a scientific mystery. Biologists have never been able to understand why bird song displays are often so inventive and why so many species devote so many hours to singing. The standard explanations, which generally have to do with territoriality and sexual display, don't begin to account for the astonishing variety and energy that the commonest birds exhibit. Is it possible that birds sing because they like to? This seemingly na•ve explanation is starting to look more and more like the truth.

    In the tradition of classic works by Bernd Heinrich, Edward Abbey, and Terry Tempest Williams, Why Birds Sing is a lyric exploration of bird song that blends the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Based on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate why birds sing and how, and what effect their music has on other animals-particularly humans. Whether playing the clarinet with the white-crested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh, or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg journeys to the heart and soul of bird song. Why Birds Sing offers an intimate look at the most lovely of natural phenomena-with surprising insights about the origin of music. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Duetting with the Birds
    Rothenberg writes with an easy intimacy, but if one takes him at his word, the intimacy that means most to him comes not by means of words but of music, and less by means of music as such than by an improvisatory exchange between, usually, himself on his clarinet, and someone else on whatever instrument the other person is using.

    Given this driving urge, it seems inevitable that Rothenberg should want to cross the barrier between those most musical of creatures, the birds, and those with the most productive curiosity, the humans. His own curiosity leads him first to the birds and then to the human experts in birdsong. He gives vivid descriptions of these researchers' extraordinary devotion to their work. I especially enjoyed his description of the ability of the composer Olivier Messiaen to hear, transcribe, and whistle the complex songs of a bird he had never heard before.

    Although, like a few of the researchers - Donald Kroodsma, for example - Rothenberg believes in the innate pleasure birds take in their song, he checks his intuitive sense of their muisicality by carefully summarizing what is scientifically known about their abilities and ways of life. Yet even though he takes to heart the criticism that the romantics "listened to birds and heard only themselves," he recalls that science, too, is fallible, and he plays on the ornithologists' conclusion that not only is each species of birds unique, but so is every individual bird.

    "Why Birds Sing" ends in the climactic scene in which Rothenberg and a friend go to Australia to hear, see the dance of, and try to enter into a musical dialogue with the lyrebird named George, the only member, he says, of his elusive, musically gifted species who can stomach the sight and sound of human beings. The bird lights to sing just a few meters from Rothenberg's tape recorder. He hears that the lyrebird's song is composed but alien, in a human sens crazy, music. After he hears a full cycle of the lyrebird's music, he joins in, dancing, not to copy the bird's song, but to play music, in and around the song, that is worthy of the bird's acceptance. The bird seems to respond to the clarinet, dances, and disappears. Rothenberg develops this last, climactic chapter, which he calls "Becoming a Bird," with thoughtful eloquence. He feels he has given his gift and made his human offering to an animal of another singing species. But his gift is also to all of us who read him.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Bird Book
    This book is a hoot, a tweet, and a cheerup!

    David Rothenberg has interwoven a personl journey of playing music with birds with a comprehensive history of bird song studies - from their poetic beginnings to their present scientific analysis.Because of his diverse talents, he is the perfect guide through these intellectual and musical forays.

    Why do birds sing?There are many answers, but none are as satisfying as the relentless questioning in this book.I enjoyed it immensely and found it impossible to put down.I am sure you will enjoy it too. ... Read more

    6. The Race to Save the Lord God Bird
    by Phillip Hoose
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374361738
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-11)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 4962
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The tragedy of extinction is explained through the dramatic story of a legendary bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and of those who tried to possess it, paint it, shoot it, sell it, and, in a last-ditch effort, save it.A powerful saga that sweeps through two hundred years of history, it introduces artists like John James Audubon, bird collectors like William Brewster, and finally a new breed of scientist in Cornell's Arthur A. "Doc" Allen and his young ornithology student, James Tanner, whose quest to save the Ivory-bill culminates in one of the first great conservation showdowns in U.S. history, an early round in what is now a worldwide effort to save species.As hope for the Ivory-bill fades in the United States, the bird is last spotted in Cuba in 1987, and Cuban scientists join in the race to save it.

    All this, plus Mr. Hoose's wonderful story-telling skills, comes together to give us what David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds calls "the most thorough and readable account to date of the personalities, fashions, economics, and politics that combined to bring about the demise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker."
    ... Read more

    7. National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America, 4th Edition
    by National Geographic Society
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $15.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0792268776
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: National Geographic
    Sales Rank: 1580
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Now in its fourth edition, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the ultimate birder’s field guide. Sturdy, portable, and easy-to-use, it features the most complete information available on every bird species known to North America. This revised edition features 250 completely updated range maps, new plumage and species classification information, specially commissioned full-color illustrations, and a superb new index that allows birders in the field to quickly identify a species.

    The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fourth Edition will continue to be a bestseller among the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. travel market—the nearly 25 million people who travel each year specifically to observe wild birds.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Birding Book
    I have many different bird field guides, but always take this one along on my trips. I have read reviews by others that state this book is too big to carry in the field. Nonsense. I like having a bird book with all the North American birds between the covers. You never know when you may see a stray bird hundreds of miles away from its usual locations. The illustrations are very detailed. The raptors in flight section is another bonus of this book. Don't get me wrong, Sibley's books are magnificent, but this one is good as well. The only drawback is the sparrow section. While they are good, they don't do the birds justice. However, no book is perfect. My birding friends and I all agree that this is probably the best field guide at the moment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Field Guide
    This is a very good field guide. Breif description accompanies every illustration. One thing though - it doens't break it down according to states. Other than that, you will be able to spot birds in your local area with this wonderful guide.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
    Just like many other reviewers, this is one of my many field guides to birds, but this one is not my favorite.

    It's got all the latest revisions (e.g. Wilson's Snipe and Black-crested Titmouse) which the other books do not yet have.

    It's got more birds, so if you're going somewhere where you might see Steller's Sea-Eagle or an Eurasian Kestrel, you'll need this book.

    I personally think the maps in this addition are pretty accurate.


    Other field guides have illustrations all by the same person. This guide has a bunch of artists. Therefore, I like how some of the birds are shown, but not others. You can't develop a feel of the artist's style and figure out how the typical bird is shown.

    Some people may like how the birds are painted in natural habitats, but for me, I'm trying to get a good look at the bird, I don't care if it's up in some flowery tree, I want to see the bird. In other guides you can easily compare birds because they have the same posture, but often similar birds in this book are pictured doing different things.

    It's too big to carry around easily. So if you want to carry one around, take Peterson, but if you're going to carry one that's too big for your pocket, you might as well take Sibley, it has more illustrations.

    So, if you're into birding, you might as well pick this up, for the extra birds it offers if nothing else. But if you're not looking to collect a bunch of guides I find Peterson easier to use if you are beginning and Sibley better for more advanced birders.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE ONE To Get If You Get Only One ... Superb!!!!
    I have been birding for 23 years. My life list is a respectable 450 species in North America. While some reviewers may not carry this book around, I will guarantee you the National Geographic Society (NGS) Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the #1 choice among every birder I know.

    On my shelf I have a dozen fact probably every one published. Some are better for some things (such as Sibley), but overall this one is HANDS DOWN my favorite.

    What makes it so good? With due respect to Roger Tory Peterson, the illustrations and written clues in the NGS guide are unmatched.

    Secondly, in the 4th edition, National Geographic has demonstrated a fervent desire to keep up with the ever-changing naming conventions from the American Ornithological Union. Other guides simply do not keep pace.

    If you are new to this hobby, this is THE guide. If someone told you they are interested, but they don't know where to start, this is THE guide to get them.

    The one to get if you only get one. The one to use if you have many.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still the best all-around guide
    I've been birding for about 6 years now, and this is the book I always have with me on birding expeditions, since its second edition - it's small enough to portable (though not small enough for a pocket,) and the illustrations are excellent in quality. The comparison pages showing several similar-looking species (comparing different species of ducks, hawks, gulls, warblers et cetera) are excellent. The descriptions are generally very good, and contain useful distinguishing information including vocalizations and distinctive movement patterns. The range maps are easily read, and at the front of the book, there are pages explaining how to identify birds, plumage, anatomy, and sundry other topics of use.

    Generally, I prefer drawings/paintings to actual photographs when using birding books - I've found that often times, the photographs in birding books are less than good examples of several species, especially when there are one or more variations. Also, with illustrations, the artist controls the lighting, the angle, et cetera. Since this book uses illustrations, so perhaps I'm biased toward it in that way. ...P> The NGS book here is more than sufficient for most birders, I would imagine. Another plus is that it's all the birds of the continent, period; no need to buy an Eastern/Western edition when you travel to other areas of the country.

    In this newest edition, they have included notations for whether or not the bird is endangered or threatened, as well as a handy one-page "quick-find index" at the back for finding a general group of birds quickly (for example, finches, jays and hawks,)so one doesn't have to spend precious moments looking through the longer, full index for them.

    The book is durable, and withstands dampness and even light rain very well. The colors of the birds are very realistic, and they do a wonderful job portraying the different seasonal plumages. It appears that the colors have been modified very slightly from the last edition to look even better than they did.

    An excellent book, all around. Naturally, selection of a birding guide is a very personal thing, and while I love this book, others may intensely hate it, preferring photographic guides. My best advice would be to get your hands on as many guides as possible, and see which suits your preferences for size, images, descriptions, and general feel, including portability, ... ... Read more

    8. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 067945120X
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-29)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1227
    Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    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 east of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,200 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent.

    The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
    is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the East.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of Birding Field Guides! Not just for East Coast..
    I bought this book because I live in the Northeast. However, I was surprised to discover that this edition actually has most species of birds, including those that live in the West or South, with ranges through and including Mexico. This was a wonderful surprise as I actually travel quite a bit, so I don't have to buy additional editions of Sibley's bird books.

    As to the content of Sibley's guide, there is none better. His illustrations are outstanding, and descriptions are just wonderful. He describes ranges, eating habits, whether the bird tends to be solitary or fly in groups (flocks), nesting, coloration, etc. Best of all, I really like how he shows the bird in a multitude of positions, from standing to flight, so that if you saw a glint of the bird in a different point of view, you can still identify it using this guide. Top ratings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the best guide I've used
    I own Sibley's larger guide, his "birding basics", and his guide to behaviour. I adore his plain, honest writing style, and his amateur-scientific approach. Not to say that Sibley, one of the big shots in the birding world, is an amateur -- just that he knows what the serious student needs and wants.

    His paintings are amazingly accurate (and beautiful -- I wish you could buy offsets.) I've made tentative identifications (later more solidly confirmed) just based on, say, the density of stippling or the exact extent of a faint color wash. Even in the small-size guide, he includes helpful "in flight" sketches, notations about wing motion, and anything else that might be helpful.

    His notations next to each species are fantastic. In addition to voice, they cover some identification problems (easily confused species, variable plumage, marks that are appear obvious in pictures but are hard to see in the field), some remarks on habitat and behaviour (especially when it helps identification), and some hints for identification that you might not pick up on at first. Subspecies and crossovers are depicted when necessary.

    There are a lot of field guides that rely on photographs; Sibley's work will instantly convert you to drawings. They present the "idealized" bird; you can compare your rugged, flea-bitten specimen to the text and learn a lot more than just its name.

    As a scientist myself, I appriciate Sibley's cautious approach to identification, as well as his ability to quickly synthesise what is know about a population even when it doesn't admit of a quick one-liner. Sibley jumps right in and uses the ornithological terms for plumage patterns; I would have appriciated having the non-passerines diagrammed on the back inside cover (instead of in his excellent introduction, and in place of a rather superfluous map of North America) for easier reference, but that's a minor quibble.

    This is not a guide you easily outgrow. My one last complaint is that the pages and binding are a little stiff and seem to have resisted "thumbing in" even after many months of use!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent field guide
    This field guide is a nice size that's easy to carry around, has multiple drawn pictures of each bird as well as a short text and range map for each - The text generally starts out with saying if the bird is common or not and then goes into where they nest, winter etc. It talks about the typical foods, if they're solitary or not. One thing I like too is that it often tells if the bird is native or non-native to the US which I find particularly interesting. Voice/song is also discussed in the text. Excellent reference book. I keep one in the house and one in the car. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide.
    As a beginner bird-watcher, I was looking for a field guide that was easy to understand and contained plenty of information about the habits of birds. This book certainly meets those criteria. It is easy to read and understand, and contains lots of helpful information. It is also beautifully and accurately illustrated, making it easy to identify birds by sight.

    I would recommend this book to anyone, beginner or advanced, who is interested in observing birds in eastern North America. This guide has something for everyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best field size guide ever.
    The Sibley Guide to Birds, as most mention, is a great guide but too heavy to tote into the field...this field guide solves that problem.

    Yes, the illustrations are smaller, but just as useable. Yes, some of the illustrations in the original guide have been deleted, but the guide you take with is better than the one at home. (You should have the original at home anyway!)

    I find that the addition of Status, Habitat and Behavior in the text more than makes up for fewer illustrations.

    Well made and it! ... Read more

    9. The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher: Birdfeeders and Bird Gardens
    by Robert Burton, Stephen W. Bird Garden Kress, National Audubon Society
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1571451862
    Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
    Publisher: Thunder Bay Press (CA)
    Sales Rank: 4760
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Discover how to create a backyard bird sanctuary with the expert guidance of the National Audubon Society.Your backyard will come alive by applying these feeding and gardening techniques.Includes a photographic guide to the birds of North America, as well as the trees and plants that attract them.The ultimate resource for anyone interested in creating a bird-friendly habitat. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful baby pictures.....
    I recently purchased THE AUDUBON BACKYARD BIRDWATCHER, as well as WHERE THE BIRDS ARE published by the National Wildlife Federation and BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA from the Smithsonian. All three books have something to recommend them, and if you are an avid bird watcher or want to become one you will want all three. The Audubon book will have the greatest appeal to the backyard bird watcher who has neither the time nor inclination to travel to the wonderful sites listed in the NWF publication. The Audubon book is not exhaustive or even nearly so. For a more complete listing of birds, turn to another Audubon publication or the Smithsonian publication I mentioned above. Audubon offers complete listings of birds by geographic regions in other publications. You'll find only birds adapted to areas inhabited by humans in the AUDUBON BACKYARD BIRDWATCHER -- familiar friends like Robins and Finches, Pine Siskins and Chickadees. Each bird entry contains a photograph of the bird under discussion, sometimes in flight, sometimes posing and sometimes feeding itself or it's young. This book is wonderful for kids and I am using it to teach my grandchildren about birds just as my grandparents taught me!! The book contains sections on bathing, bird calls (including call notes and mimicry), and baby raising, and all are illustrated with many wonderful photos including some amazing shots of babies hatching, babies being fed, and babies launching into independence. Sections on bird pests, bird deaths, and bird rescues explain foiling predators, warning birds about glass windows, and banding and tracking birds. The child exposed to this book will learn someting about birds and life. Probably one of the most informative sections for the new birder or even old birders like me includes suggestions about what to grow in your own backyard to attract the birds. It's not enough to put out seed in a birdfeeder if you want diversity, though the book covers what to use in bird feeders. If you want to see anything other than seed eaters however, you'll have to provide other types of foods including bugs and berries. Usually where you grow berries, you'll have bugs. The book contians sections on hedging, vegetation variety, leaf litter (for cover, food, and nest-building), dust for baths, and water requirements. While the Audubon book isn't a gardening book per se, you'll find more information about building a bird friendly garden in this book than in most gardening books. I recommend the Audubon book as a teaching and instuction tool for the new birders and old birders alike. Oh--my favorite baby picture? -- the short-eared owls. If you don't think owls can come to your back yard guess again. I've had them in my backyard and I live 10 minutes from the White House. I won't tell you want owls eat. You just go right on thinking it's mice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful reference book
    Before I purchased this book, I struggled to find something that I could refer to quickly when I spotted a bird at my feeder. Not only did this book provide me with basic features such as nesting habits, song descriptions, and typical diets of each bird, it also gave vital information on how to attract these fascinating little guys into your yard through the use of water, food, shelter, & shrubs and flowers. The photos are fantastic as well. I find myself referring to this book constantly, and keep it right by my binoculars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars About the birds you see and how to attract more of them
    Bird profiles, behavior guide, nesting, eggs, curious behavior, songs, displays. Ways to attract birds to your backyard no matter what kind of area you live in... landscaping, supplemental feeding, water. The photos are fantastic and are very valuable to the backyard birder. Great book. ... Read more

    10. A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0395740460
    Catlog: Book (2002-04-04)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 2144
    Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Roger Tory Peterson had already made his mark with his innovative field guide when he conducted DDT research during World War II. His friend and fellow naturalist Rachel Carson built on these efforts and eventually wrote Silent Spring, a landmark text that, along with Peterson"s field guide, jump-started the modern environmental movement.
    By combining the tireless observation of a scientist with the imaginative skills of an artist and writer, Peterson created a field guide that Robert Bateman, in his foreword to the fifth edition, says was the doorway for millions of people into the wonderland of natural history.
    The Peterson Identification System has been used in the more than fifty books that make up the Peterson Field Guide series. Peterson"s magnum opus, now in its fifth edition, created the trail for countless field guides to follow. They are still following year by year, but his is the standard by which all other field guides are judged.
    On the morning of July 28, 1996, Roger Peterson was painting his final bird plate. He died peacefully in his sleep later that day. It is fitting that his final work—a culmination of more than sixty years of observing, painting, and writing—should be this one, a revision of the guide that started his legacy.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A review for beginning birders (from one, gulp!)
    When starting this hobby, there are an immense number of guides and (often expensive) resources to choose from.

    This book should be the first one you buy (well, if you are in the eastern half of the US).

    But it should not be the last. The Peterson Guide uses drawings (important -- NOT photos) to show you the typical features of the birds around you. Other great guides -- like the Audubon series -- use photos, but photos are harder for a beginner to use for a sure-fire identification. Or this beginner anyway...

    No bird in the field looks exactly like the lovely Peterson drawing, but no two bird photos are ever alike, either (even of the same bird). Use the Peterson to get to know the bird species around you, and maybe next buy a guide like the Audubon Society Field Guide (just because -- I dunno, they seem like a one-two punch to me)! It's great to go looking with both, but if I had to choose one, it would be Peterson.

    To learn more about birding in general, Sibley has a nice, shortish overview book called "Sibley's Birding Basics."

    I'm only getting started, but this is some advice about what's helped in beginning to learn all this wonderful stuff about the living world all 'round.

    5-0 out of 5 stars small improvement--world of difference
    I previously carried an old edition of Peterson's because the pictures are more helpful for identification than those in any other field guide. However, it was a nuisance having to search through the range maps in the back of the book to see whether a bird could be found in a given location.

    In this new edition a miniature range map is printed next to the description of each bird on the page opposite the picture. (Full-sized maps are still located in the back of the book.) The new format is very helpful to those of us who don't already know the ranges of most birds. This very good field guide is now great.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The is the best bird guide book I've ever seen or owned!
    I owe a few bird books but this is the best and most handy one to identify a bird I'm not familar with. I love the arrows pointing to the areas for quick identification. It shows me what I should be looking for and sure helps when the bird won't stand still. The book is so light, I can have it on hand at all times. I even have it next to me in my own backyard. If you want a book to start out a new hobby of identifying birds, this is the one to get. Then start collecting from there. In fact, I'm considering buying another one for my car for spir-of-the-moment identification away from home and leave one at home for the backyard.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful and handy!
    Really needed a good (and easy to use) guide for our new bordering-on-the-woods house. We get tons of bird traffic at our feeders, and this book is organized well enough that I can quickly identify the species we see.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The field guide that started it all
    If you're getting into birding, or want a good field guide to see what birds are at your cabin or in your yard, this is it.

    It's got the bird listed opposite from the description and has arrows to show field marks of a species. New in the 5th edition are:

    Maps on the same page as the description (maps improved too!)
    The description mentions how common the bird is in the east.
    The area covered doesn't take a sharp turn and leave out the tip of texas

    If you're getting more into birding I'd highly recommend David Sibley's guide, it has many more views and plumages of each bird, but is a bit large to take in the field. ... Read more

    11. Birding by Ear: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides(R))
    by Richard K. Walton
    list price: $30.00
    our price: $19.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618225900
    Catlog: Book (2002-04-04)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
    Sales Rank: 4495
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    BIRDING BY EAR uses an educational and entertaining method for learning bird songs. Instead of merely providing a catalog of bird song samples, BIRDING BY EAR actually teaches. This proven method has greatly enhanced the field experience for birders across North America. The authors have created learning groups of similar vocalizations and clearly point out distinguishing characteristics. Using techniques such as phonetics, mnemonics, and descriptive words, Walton and Lawson provide a context for learning the songs and calls of eighty-five species of birds found east of the Rockies. Combine the auditory instruction here with the visual features of the Peterson Identification System. Page numbers in BIRDING BY EAR's booklet refer to species descriptions in the PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA, fifth edition. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Who cooks for you?"
    Listening to this 3-CD set for the first time, I cycled through an entire manic-depressive episode. The depression occurred early on the first CD, track 4--"Sing-Songers." If there was one bird song I thought I knew it was the American Robin's cheerful warble. Now I learn that there are three other birds that sound EXACTLY like the robin to me: the Scarlet Tanager; the Summer Tanager; and the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

    Oh no! I'm going to have to listen to these CDs a hundred times before I can even be confident of the robin again.

    Later that same night, as I was crawling moodily into bed, I cranked open the window and heard a series of low hoots that sounded like, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?"--Instant mood swing. I lay there grinning in the dark, because I had just identified a Barred Owl. He sounded exactly like he did on these CDs.

    There is something so satisfying about being able to identify a song or a flower or even an animal track, as a reminder of the lives being lived around us--some of them very strange and beautiful. You will be amazed the first time you step outside after listening to these CDs, by how the orchestra of bird song begins to sort itself out into individual instruments. I was able to identify the Song Sparrow and the Oven Bird--two shy, unseen songsters that had been puzzling me for years.

    Each of the tracks in this CD set contains narration as well as bird calls and bird song. Birds are grouped on a track based on similarity of song, which is why you'll find the Mourning Dove on the Owl track. According to the narrator, many people mistake them for owls.

    At the end of the third CD, bird songs and calls are grouped together by habitat. To test yourself, listen to the birds and try to recognize them without referring to the accompanying text insert. I averaged round three out of ten correct identifications per group, but I expect to do better as I replay these fascinating CDs.

    Added benefit: this 'Guide to Birdsong Identification' will bewitch any resident cats. One of mine is perched on the CD player right now, trying to peer into a speaker.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great work out CD
    I listen to these CDs while working out at the gym and boy did it pay off. While on vacation last summer in Vermont I could identify almost every bird call I heard without even trying. My ears would prick up at every sound of a bird and I would know what it was. It's a great feeling to take a walk in the woods or to garden in your back yard and know who is out there with you without fumbling with your binoculars. These are excellent CDs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great learning tool for birders....
    If you wish to broaden your bird-identification skills and gain an advantage in telling birds apart by song, this audio guide is perfect for you.

    The birds in this guide are grouped together based on the similarities of their calls, as well as habitat preferences. By doing this, the authors of this guide have allowed the learner to compare similar sounding species likely to be confuse in the field.

    Richard Walton's clear voice introduces each species and walks the listener through the various groupings. Throughout, he points out key characteristics of each bird call to enhance the listener's learning experince. The birds featured in each group on this three disc set include many familar eastern North American species. The eastern woodpeckers, several confusing sparrow species, buetos, tanagers and several other neotropical migrants are featured on the first disc. The second features several owl species and a variety of flycatchers among others. The third CD is comprised mostly of neotropical songbirds and a few odds and ends species: common eastern warblers, thrushes, plus American bittern. The third disc also includes a several groupings of birds that allows the listener's to test their bird vocalization identification skills.

    Along with the CDs, a complementry booklet with surprisingly good black-and-white illistrations is included. This helps the birder make visual assocations with the species they are hearing. Room is provided on each page for the listener to take notes on the various bird vocalizations. Page numbers for locating the birds on the plates in the PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS: EASTERN/CENTRAL REGION are also provided in the booklet.

    Overall, this three-CD set serves as a nice introduction/learning tool to the voices of Eastern North America's birds. It allows the learner to broaden his or her bird identifiaction skills. It is especially useful for beginners, but experienced enthusiats may also find the guide highly useful in comparing bird calls. A great buy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent bird song guide
    By grouping bird song according to characteristics, this clear guide makes it easier to learn and be able to identify bird song. The method of grouping similar types of songs on the CD, along with the brief, written guide enclosed, enables you to locate and identify birds you hear in the field much more easily than guides that simply list songs in order of the species' appearance in bird guides. Songs and calls are both included, as well as variations, which is very helpful as birds have "dialects" and variations in song patterns just like people of different areas have.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Repetition & field work are the key to this CD.
    When I first received this CD I was disappointed & overwhelmed. I thought, how could I possibly learn any of these bird calls (I'm 50 years old). It seemed like a monumental task. Well, I kept listening over and over (thinking the mnemonics were silly) and low and behold things started to click. I made a few forays into the field and was very excited when I heard bird calls and the mnemonics made sense. I still get excited when I'm able to identify a bird by song or call. I even find myself doing it on TV commercials. This CD isn't any good if you don't include field work with it. Practice, practice, practice and one day you will be out in the field and hear a bird and know exactly what you are looking for. This CD has made me a much better birder. ... Read more

    12. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: East : Revised edition
    by John Bull, John, Jr. Farrand, John L. Bull, John Farrand
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679428526
    Catlog: Book (1994-09-27)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 2445
    Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Covering 508 bird species found east of the Rocky Mountains, the revised second edition takes into account changes in taxonomy and uses improved photography. At the heart of the guide is a set of 646 well-made color photographs whose subjects are organized by easily discerned characteristics (e.g., "chicken-like marsh birds," such as the clapper rail; "gull-like birds," such as the kittiwake; and "upright-perching water birds," such as the common murre). The photographs are then keyed to textual descriptions of the birds' appearance, range and habitat, nesting characteristics, and behavior. Easy to use and handsomely produced, this belongs in every eastern birdwatcher's collection. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Peterson Bird Guides
    This National Audubon Society field guide to birds has lots and lots of nice, but small, photos of birds. That's nice. This guide also includes most of the birds of the region. Those are the plusses of this book. There are, however, a number of minuses that come along with this book.

    First of all, no photograph-based field guide can show the important characteristics needed to identify most birds as clearly as a good illustration can. Next, the only info that accompanies each photograph is the common name of the bird, along with its gender, average size, and a reference to a page number to a section in the back of the book that provides all of the descriptive narrative information for each species. That info includes each bird's physical description, voice (call), habitat, nesting info, and geographic range (with a map by the info -- that's nice). The part that's frustrating for me is that I have to spend time flipping back and forth between the photo section at the front of the book and the info section at the back of the book in order to get the info I'm looking for! While I'm in the field birding, that's a hassle! I therefore much prefer the illustrated format that has pictures and descriptive info of the Peterson Guides to the Audubon guides.

    Still, the Audubon guides are useful, though I use mine primarily as a secondary source, and it usually stays inside when I go out -- Peterson is my guide of choice.

    I am, by the way, a novice birder myself, and find that the Peterson Guides help me to ID birds faster and with fewer errors than the Audubon guides do.

    5 points for photos, but 3 points for ease of use, for 4 points overall.

    Good luck,and happy spotting!

    Alan Holyoak, Dept of Biology, Manchester College, IN

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Field Guide for Birders
    This is an excellent guide to identifying birds. The National Audubon Society is an excellent authority on all things nature, and therefore it is not surprising that the National Audubon Society would publish a helpful guide. The guide helps a birder identify birds by behavior, size, habitat, plumage, call, and location. There are color photographs of many birds to guide the birder. The plates are grouped by family which makes basic identification easy. The book also has a section that describes each bird as well as maps that show the likely locations where birds can be found. The color plates are enjoyable simply to look at, and can help a person prepare for possible sightings. The book is small enough that it can be carried to the field. The cover is also durable so it can withstand wear and tear. Since the boos are divided buy Eastern Region and Western Region, so the book is not very cumbersome.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Pictures, Info; Poor Organization
    I have used many of Audubon's Field Guides, and they are very helpful and usually organized and easy to understand. However, this one is extremely complex and confusing.

    When I find an interesting bird, I would go grab my binoculars and field guide and look it up. I go to the correct catagory and frantically search for the bird. When I find it, it gives me a detailed color picture that helps identify the bird. However, if you want more information, it than refers you to a different page, hundreds of thin pages away. You than need to go and find the page, but by then, the bird is gone. When I do get to the page, it is filled with wonderful detailed information of appearance, voice, habitat, nesting, range, map of habitat, and a brief summary.

    The book is nice, but I would recommend buying another one with more organization.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great potential but bad design
    Field guides are great to have because they're small and their entire aim is to help you immediately identify a bird you see before you. Every birder should have at least one field guide, and maybe even several - some to keep in the car or by a window.

    Being published by the National Audubon Society, you'd expect this field guide to be top-notch, one developed and tested by thousands of birders. Indeed, the photos are very nice, full color and in 'native habitat'. The descriptions are pretty complete - with size, key things to look for, song, hapitat. There's a little map showing range, and the range is also described as well.

    The problem is with the layout. All of the pictures are at the front of the book - put into groups by bird type, three to a page. Often there's only one photo of a bird, even though they look different during different years of life or seasons. If you see something that seems it might be right, now you have to go flipping through many pages to track down the actual *information* on that bird. Does it even live where you're looking? Are there other similar birds it might be instead? What are those key features you're supposed to be watching for? By the time you figure any of this out, the bird is probably back in hiding.

    It seems with their knowledge of birders and how birders operate, they'd have arranged this book in an easier-to-use fashion. While this is a nice book to have for its lovely pictures, it's not what I grab when I need to bring a field book with me on a trip.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Incomplete and inconvenient
    This book, although had good intentions is a very inefficient and incomplete field guide. It only has pictures of some of the birds, and usually only one plumage, which makes it impossible as a reliable field guide for fall shorebirds and warblers, and juvenile birds. The pictures of the birds are also seperate from the descriptions and range maps. In addition the pictures are organized by color rather that family. So, if you know you are looking at a warbler you can't go to the warbler section you must find the section of the pictures that has e.g. birds with yellow plumage. Pictures of birds in flight are all but absent in this guide, so if you don't know your hawks, etc. you won't be any better off with this book. I would recommend a more complete and easy to use guide like the National Geographic field guide. ... Read more

    13. Sharks of the World (Princeton Field Guides)
    by Leonard Compagno, Marc Dando, Sarah Fowler
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691120722
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-24)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 24504
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Everyone's heard of the Great Whites. But most people know little of the hundreds of other types of sharks that inhabit the world's oceans. Written by two of the world's leading authorities and superbly illustrated by wildlife artist Marc Dando, this is the first comprehensive field guide to all 440-plus shark species. Color plates illustrate all species, and detailed accounts include diagnostic line drawings and a distribution map for each species. Introductory chapters treat physiology, behavior, reproduction, ecology, diet, and sharks' interrelationships with humans.

    • More than 125 original full-color illustrations for fast and accurate identification of each shark family
    • Over 500 additional drawings illustrating physical features from different angles
    • Clear identification information for each species with details of size, habitat, behavior, and biology
    • Quick ID guide helpful for differentiating similar species
    • Geographic distribution maps for each species
    • For professional and amateur shark enthusiasts
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must for shark workers and enthusiasts
    If you don't know anything about Leonard Compagno, you should know that he is a very thorough archivist.It was he who cataloged all of the known shark species for the FAO Species Catalog, presumably the basis for this book.The book begins with a small introductory section on sharks (evolution, anatomy, physiology, ecology, etc.) and a key to the families.This is followed by wonderfully drawn color plates of each shark.The individual descriptions of the sharks include a line drawing with notable characters, examples of upper and lower teeth (more if heterodontic), distributions and a short blurb that includes habitat, size, behavior and biology, descriptions and IUCN status.Included are relatively new species and all of the deep-water forms.I cannot imagine needing another guide, at least for the next ten years.New species aren't exactly rolling in.I would recommend, however, a hardback copy for field workers, as paperbacks don't last very long with heavy usage.Also, keep in mind that other elasmobranchs are not included.I have not seen Compagno's much cheaper Collins Guide (only available in hardback), but I do know that this Princeton Guide is worth the money. ... Read more

    14. Bird Song Ear Training Guide: Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody? Learn to Recognize the Songs of Birds from the Midwest and Northeast States
    by John Feith
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0975443402
    Catlog: Book (2002-11)
    Publisher: Caculo
    Sales Rank: 36805
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    This Audio CD is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to recognize bird songs. It features the sounds of 189 different bird species found in the Midwest and Northeast States.

    Each bird song recording is followed by a short description of the sound along with a common mnemonic used to remember it. Many well-known song mnemonics such as "Who cooks for you?" for the Barred Owl and "Poor Sam Peabody" for the White-throated Sparrow are included. Following the song and mnemonic, the source of the sound is revealed. By naming the bird at the end of each track, the listener is allowed to wonder and guess at the nature of the sound. Active listening, similar to what one experiences in the field while searching for an unknown bird song, is a key to engaging the memory process.

    One way to use this CD is to enable the "Random Play" or "Shuffle" option on a home CD player, portable stereo, or personal computer. Although it may be frustrating at first, repetition of this "quiz" game will quickly improve recognition skills. Gaining familiarity with these songs will greatly increase any bird watcher's enjoyment and awareness of birds in their natural habitat.


    - 189 bird species found in the Midwest and Northeast states
    - Digital bird song recordings made in Wisconsin
    - Brief narration after each song includes descriptive, memorable and often funny mnemonics
    - Can be used as a field guide to learn and identify songs or as a recognition quiz game
    - Easy to use alphabetical track listing of all birds and their mnemonics
    - It is a great gift for any birdwatcher, beginner or advanced.
    - Total running time: 60 minutes ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wish it were more comprehensive
    Very good job. Love the mnemonics. I wish it had near the calls that the Stokes and Peterson CD's did. Also, letting us hear the call first, before telling the bird name is great.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent learning disk for new birders
    Our family has owned a patch of shore/forest land in Wisconsin for 20 years although none have been birders. With this disk we easily learned to identify species and discovered the diversity that we never noticed previously. The call/naming/call format of this disk is excellent for new birders and the numbers of species covered is ideal. I use the Stokes disk set as a reference but the name/call format and large number species covered does not facilitate learning the calls.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A unique and impressive CD audiobook
    John Feith's Bird Song Ear Training Guide is a unique and impressive CD audiobook providing instructions on how to recognize songs of birds common to the states of the Midwest and Northeast (including Wisconsin where almost all the bird songs were recorded and the post-production work was done). Each distinctive bird song is followed by a mnemonic or a short description. The bird is identified and a review sound is played again that fixes the song's identity in the mind of the listener. The Bird Song Ear Training Guide is enhanced with a quiz format which will aid the listener to focus on learning how to identify the bird songs. A complete list of bird species and mnemonics is included in an insert. All profits from this enthusiastically recommended CD instructional for birdwatchers will go to the Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it for your cats!
    Actually you'll find it useful and accurate too. Fun to use, lots of songs, and my two feline birders went bananas. Who would know better? Good value for the money and the proceeds go to a good cause.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unbiased Review by the Author
    One might call this CD a companion "ear training guide" to the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs. Or maybe a condensed Birding by Ear. It falls between the two in terms of number of birds (189) and amount of narration (about 5 seconds following each bird song). It has the lovely voice of a female narrator (unusual for a bird tape) and the birds have a tinge of a Wisconsin accent.

    For some, the main draw of this CD is that one is allowed to guess before being told the name of the bird singing. Others might like the number of memorable mnemonics and brief song descriptions used. For those in the Midwest, the main draw might be that all the birds were recorded in Wisconsin (although most of the birds can be heard over much of the Eastern United States). And finally, the fact that one can review or "take a quiz" on the songs of 189 birds in only 60 minutes is a big advantage over the multi-CD guides.

    This is, of course, only the opinion of the unbiased author. ... Read more

    15. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill : A Love Story . . .with Wings
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0609610554
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-20)
    Publisher: Harmony
    Sales Rank: 7207
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is the inspiring story of how one man found his life’s work—and true love—among a gang of wild parrots roosting in one of America’s most picturesque urban settings.

    Mark Bittner was down on his luck. He’d gone to San Francisco at the age of twenty-one to take a stab at a music career, but he hadn’t had much success. After many years as an odd-jobber in the area, he accepted work as a housekeeper for an elderly woman. The gig came with a rent-free studio apartment on the city’s famed Telegraph Hill, which had somehow become home to a flock of brilliantly colored wild parrots.

    In this unforgettable story, Bittner recounts how he became fascinated by the birds and made up his mind to get to know them and gain their trust. He succeeds to such a degree that he becomes the local wild parrot expert and a tourist attraction. People can’t help gawking at the man who, during daily feedings, stands with parrots perched along both arms and atop his head.When a documentary filmmaker comes along to capture the phenomenon on film, the story takes a surprising turn, and Bittner’s life truly takes flight.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Inadvertant Memoir
    I was attracted to this book because of my long-standing curiosity about the feral parakeets of San Francisco, where I grew up and still live. And it is definitely worth reading on that score -- Mark Bittner has more information to impart on those birds than any other source I've ever found. But the book is fascinating, too, because it is the truthful autobiography of someone who is, frankly, a loser in the lottery of life. Not a big loser -- he manages, barely, to escape from homelessness, and he (pathetically) substitutes relationships with feral parrots for normal human relationships. But he is so clueless in many obvious ways. Too poor to pay for practically anything, but he buys parrot books at the local bookstore, and is amazed at his discovery of the local library, where, gasp, he can read books for FREE. And it is intriguing to read his accounts of his petty descents into the rivalries of these animals, and his adoption of their aims and hostilities, in the absence of a normal human existence. By all means, get this book if you have ever wondered about the weirdo around the corner who can only interact with dogs, cats, birds, or whatever. And get it if you're curious about feral exotic birds -- he documents their lives like nothing I've ever read of before.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wild magic in the heart of the city
    For one or two weeks every two months I live in an apartment at the base of Telegraph Hill, a place of true magic. I could not believe my ears the first time I heard the parrots, or my eyes, the first time I saw them! I soon found Mark Bittner's web site, complete with wonderful photos of the parrots and the story of his connection with them. What a pleasure, then, to find in my local Massachusetts book store, a copy of this wonderful book. Mr. Bittner takes us with him as his relationship with the parrots becomes inextricably woven into his life search for meaning. His study of the parrot's lives, first undertaken by chance, becomes a life's work of real interest to anyone who has an affection for animal life in general, or these amazing birds in particular.

    5-0 out of 5 stars incredible story
    I'm only halfway through this book right now, but I can't wait to finish it. It's funny and charming. I only started to read it because someone simply recommended it, I had no idea what to expect, but it really is amusing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sounds very much like "Elsewhere in the land of Parrots"
    "Elsewhere in the land of Parrots" by Jim Paul, which takes place on telegraph hill also. And is also about the wild parrots of San Fran. And is also an excellent read and a very charming book. I'd be interested to know whose came first.

    Have not read this yet, so I can't REALLY rate it, this form insists you put a rating. I will be reading it soon though because it sounds like something I will enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL ACCOMPLISHMENT
    This is a must read for people who love parrots and freedom and love to study the connundrum of jobs/captive life. The author was ultimately "freed" by enslavement by the flock/project. Anybody can find natural and spiritual lessons in this wonderful book. Wild life isn't a picnic, and the quest for "freedom" can imprison the mind.

    Even those who live with companion parrots often fail to establish the rapport Mark Bittner achieved with a group of wild parrots. ... Read more

    16. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior
    by David Allen Sibley
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679451234
    Catlog: Book (2001-10)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1701
    Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 2001

    From the creator of the seminal field guide, The Sibley Guide toBirds, comes another indispensable book for bird watchers. Thisveritable bible to the world of birds is the collaborative effort of 48expert birders and biologists, who combine scientific accuracy anddetail with an easily readable and well-organized format. How does atiny chickadee survive subzero temperatures? How do flocks of birdssynchronize their flights? How can an albatross cross miles of oceanwithout flapping its wings? Which bird brains are actually intelligent?It's all here in essays giving an overview of avian evolution, biology,and the aerodynamics of flight and in chapters devoted to the 80 birdfamilies of North America, each one detailing taxonomy, habitats,feeding, breeding, vocalizations, migrations, and more. Concerned aboutdeclining populations, Sibley also discusses the conservation status ofeach species and the factors that threaten them. This fascinatingsource of information is destined to be a well-thumbed companion. -- Lesley Reed ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for Serious Birders
    THE SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRD LIFE AND BEHAVIOR is the follow up to Sibley's first book on birding. This book has the same sort of illustrations that make his first book so helpful. This book is more in depth and contains articles on bird biology as well as general information on various species. Though the guide bears Sibley's name, he is the illustrator and the text in the book is written by leading ornithologists. It is an excellent book for those who not only want to identify birds, but know a bit more about the birds that are sighted.

    This book will be helpful to those who have an idea of the birds likely to be seen on a birding trip. By reading ahead of time, the experience can often be more fruitful, that is if Mother Nature cooperates and supplies the birds one hopes to see.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding resource for birders of all abilities
    It is difficult to imagine a more helpful guide to understanding birds than "The Sibley Guide to Bird Behavior". Illustrated by David Allen Sibley, with contributing text by a host of bird authorities, this work is the ultimate companion to Sibley's field guides. Anyone can gain a greater appreciation for our feathered friends by picking up this book.

    Crammed with useful information, the guide opens with an understanding of how birds fly, their anatomy, and intellectual capabilities. There are chapters on origins, classification methods, bird behavior, migration, communication, and breeding. Also included are overviews of habitat distinctions, populations, and conservation.

    This general format is carried over into the largest section of the book - a comprehensive look at all the families of North American avians. For instance, each family of birds (e.g. - Hummingbirds, Vireos) will have chapters within the text providing specific analysis of:

    *Adaptations to Lifestyle
    *Food and Foraging
    *Accidental Species

    This clear breakdown by sections makes it a simple task to compare the migration strategies of Vireos to that of Hummingbirds, for instance. Given that all these sections exist uniformly for each family, anyone seeking to know more about a particular family of birds can easily find what they are looking for. Even complete families of birds that are merely accidental are listed here (e.g. - Accentors.)

    "The Sibley Guide to Bird Behavior" benefits not only from its methodical layout, but also a profusion of David Sibley's artwork. And while some have dubbed his illustrations merely functional, I find them to be very good. The superb quality of the guide itself is also a huge plus, making it a sort of "mini-coffeetable" book. Bright, thick pages with clear text and plenty of open space make the guide very easy to read. Because of the layout, it can be read in small chunks, too, so its hefty 587 pages are easily digestible.
    There is something here for any birder, no matter their level of expertise, as well. I've been birding for more than twenty-five years and yet I still picked up plenty of great facts.

    Lastly, a word on the conservation sections of the book: they are both heartening and disheartening in their factualness about the survivability of different bird families. Yes, Man has harmed some avian families, but many others have been aided by our encroachments. The guide is balanced in its view, too, that some species of North American birds that are extinct (or close to it) were never that populous to begin with and may have been doomed over time anyway, no matter what Man did to their habitats. Still, it does not shrink from blaming us for devastating some species - the passenger pigeon, for instance - nor does it excuse us from continuing to work to better the plight of all bird species around the world.

    Absolutely deserving of a five star rating, "The Sibley Guide to Bird Behavior" is a superb book on its own, and even better with the Sibley Field Guide series. Highly recommended to all, particularly bird lovers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT REFERENCE
    Very well organized, comprehensive information. It's very useful and actually quite engrossing. I knew nothing about birds and am doing research for a novel. I first encountered this book in the public library and decided to buy myself a copy of this one among all the other bird books I borrowed. I am not a bird watcher and I don't think I'll take it up as a real hobby, but this book has given me a great appreciation of birds. They are fascinating and truly remarkable creatures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference!!!
    I LOVE this book! It has terrific drawings wit great colors for one thing but even more important is the great writing, which is easy to get into, and incredibly informative. The level of detail is at the family level - e.g. "woodpeckers" or "flycatchers" But within the section, individual species are discussed. The level of detail is perfect and subfamilies are addressed. Foraging habits (with drawings in some cases) are discussed, habitat that the birds live in, variations in colors, breeding, vocalizations, the whole nine yards! Its fantastic. I started this review by mentioning the drawings because they really are the icing on the cake - an example is the face of a flycatcher drawn to show the bristles around its mouth. Terrific! I like the Stokes books on bird behavior too but this is one big complete reference!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Informative
    This is a wonderful book. I wish I would have bought it when it came out. I might not have bought so many other bird books. This book breaks down the birds into groups and then talks about that group. I have learned so much from it (and I'm not even through reading it). The illustrations are meticulous, and the book setup is much like that of a field guide (content order wise). A must have for anyone interested in birds. ... Read more

    17. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679451218
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-29)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1582
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    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 703 bird species plus regional populations found west of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,600 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent.

    The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
    is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the West.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
    The larger Sibley field guide caused quite a stir but it was also a bit of a bear, in terms of size. The smaller guides that focus on east and west, are much easier to carry. Everything about them is, really, as good as it gets: the paintings, the maps, the descriptions - a top quality product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent followup to the Sibley Guide to Birds
    My main problem with the original Sibley Guide to Birds has been its size. While it is an excellent and comprehensive reference, it is just too bulky to carry in the field. Sibley found the answer in coming out with separate guides for East and West. The new western guide, a wonderful addition to the Sibley family, contains updated nomenclature and range maps. Also, it contains only western birds and those eastern birds that have have shown up in the west as accidentals. It leaves out the eastern birds that have never been seen in the west before, thus saving time when using the book to ID a bird in the field. The biggest advantage is the smaller size which actually makes it feasible to carry in the field without nearly as much difficulty. Although there is a loss of detail compared to the original Sibley guide, this is a small price to pay for the portability of the smaller size. For the serious birder I would recommend getting both this book (for the field) and the originaly Sibley Guide to Birds (for a reference), but otherwise this book (or its eastern counterpart depending on where you live) is definitely the way to go for a comprehensive, portable field guide.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western NA
    Overall a very good book. Species maps are on the same pages as the species accounts so there is no extra flipping to find the map. However, I have noticed that many colors in this guide are very muted. I work at several bird-banding stations and have held live birds up to the color pictures and notice quite a difference. Sibley's colors are not nearly as vibrant as the reall thing, giving an inaccurate impression of some of the colors.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally a pocket sized Sibley
    This guide is well layed out,provides excellent pictures and text and is the perfect in the field answer to The Sibley Guide To Birds.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Peterson!
    Sibley has done a great job of putting pictures, text and maps together in this guide. Regrettably, though, all that info. on 1/2 a page (2 species per page) makes it difficult to see/read; especially with older eyes.

    In addition, I still think Peterson's paintings are the best in presenting the birds in a manner closest to how they look in the field. Sibley's paintings are a bit stark compared to the real thing. On a recent trip to Madera Canyon, I noted this when looking, in particular, at a Lazuli Bunting, and a Rufous-Winged Sparrow.

    Sibley's new guide is very good, but I still keep "Roger" in the fanny pack, and Sibley back in the car as reference.

    Good birding. ... Read more

    18. Birds of North America : A Guide To Field Identification, Revised and Updated (Golden Field Guide from St. Martin's Press)
    by Chandler S. Robbins, Bertel Bruun, Herbert S. Zim
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $10.85
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1582380902
    Catlog: Book (2001-04-14)
    Publisher: Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 7408
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Spot the silhouette of a Northern Goshawk in flight. Identify the raucous call of the Red-winged Blackbird. Discover the secret of picking out a Chipping Sparrow from its look-alike cousins. It's simple with this classic field guide, a treasured favorite among amateur bird lovers and exacting professionals. Recognized as the authority on bird identification, this invaluable resource provides:

    -All of North America in one volume
    -Over 800 species and 600 range maps
    -Arthur Singer's famous illustrations featuring male, female, and juvenile plumage
    -Sonograms that picture sound for easy song recognition
    -Migration routes, feeding habits, and characteristic flight patterns
    -American ornithologists' classifications
    -Convenient check boxes to record birds you have identified
    -Color tabs for quick references
    ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the BEST bird book out there!!
    The Golden Guide to Field Indentifcation of Birds of North America is a handy, not to mention effective, guide to the birds. Accidentals, rarities, stragglers, and casuals are all covered, along with the common birds. This guide includes full color illustrations of birds were and how they are most often spotted, whether gliding over the ocean or perching in dense underbrush, as well as winter, summer, eclipse, immature, chick, juvenile, adult, male, female, breeding, non-breeding, molting, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winter plumages, if need be. Any bird spotted can quickly be indentified quickly and easily with this guide.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive North American Bird Guide
    I first purchased this guide as a 13 year old back in 1971, graduating from the introductory Zim/Gabrielson "Golden Guide" and the Chester A. Reed classic on eastern birds. This book became my birding companion for years to come, and successive copies became dog-eared and worn out with extensive use. As a teenager growing up in southern Ontario, I used to marvel at the "Carolinian" species - those species which reached the very northern limit of their distributions in the area I grew up - on the pages of this wonderful book. Singer's renditions of Orchard Orioles, Carolina Wrens, Cerulean and Blue-Winged Warblers, amongst the other 700+ species illustrated with such precision and described in exquisite detail by Bruun, Robbins and Zim are painstakingly accurate, and not only defined my youthful birdwatching days but evoke many memories of growing up in the Canadian countryside. I have lived in Europe since 1983, but this guide accompanies me on every return trip I make to North America.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great buy
    This guide is wonderful. The pictures are very descriptive and make it easy to identify different birds.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best
    I actually have the 1983 expanded, revised edition. I like photos more than a book with drawings but these drawings are almost photo quality. What I like about this book is that simular birds are pictured together on one page. Diane

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Great Book but this Edition Needs Improvement
    No one has captured the real look of birds the way Singer has. Singer's paintings are really a major creative event.
    HOWEVER, St. Martin's doesn't seem to have the reverence for these illustrations that it should. Instead of remastering the originals and providing the book with the best reproduction of the paintings, St. Martin's has cheaply reproduced them in such a way that colors are noticeably faded and washed out -- to the point of possibly affecting identification in a few places. Also, terns and other white birds often seem to vanish into the page.
    When the original edition came out many years ago, it changed the look of all field guides for the better. People were also impressed with the value they got. Even the cover was not some rehashed illustration from the interior of the text, but a specially-painted scene of three buntings. That piece of art has now been tossed out entirely and replaced with a rather dreary and photographic-like illustration of two bald eagles perched together with an immature -- obviously their offspring (except that they are both males).
    My copy has the birds' wing tips, tails, feet, and sonagrams cut off at the bottom of many pages. This is very annoying.
    Also, the broad-billed hummingbird is mistakenly labeled "broad-bellied" on page 191. I spotted the broad-billed the other day and couldn't figure out what was going on in the text!
    Where are the check boxes in the index? That's a huge omission!
    I still highly recommend this book. No other captures the look of birds in the field as well.
    St. Martin's would be well advised to never throw out any of Singer's art. That's kind of a crime and they need to appreciate that fact before they diddle with this great book anymore! The publisher needs to lose the current cover and replace it with the old -- or a redesigned cover with the original art. The edition should be redone with improved reproductions of Singer's fabulous paintings.
    If you don't have this book, buy it anyway! It's great and the price has always made the book a steal. ... Read more

    19. A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific
    by H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner, Delwyn G. Berrett
    list price: $52.00
    our price: $52.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691023999
    Catlog: Book (1987-06-01)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 94154
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The indispensible Tropical Pacific field guide.
    Pratt, Bruner, and Dickinson have produced a superb field guide completely covering all the islands of the tropical Pacific from Hawai'i west through Micronesia. This is a true field guide: it gives the field marks of every species, notes problems in identification with special emphasis on distinguishing similar species, and wastes no space on matters not related to identification. (The exception is that Pratt, a significant ornithologist as well as an expert in identification, summarizes controversies in classification whre appropriate.)

    The text is organized by order and family, not by region, so the flycatchers of Tahiti appear next to the flycatchers of Palau rather than near other Tahitian birds. But the illustrations are grouped by region: Samoan land birds appear together, regardless of relationships. This greatly facilitates use in the field.

    The illustrations are paintings, not photographs, which allows the authors to show similar birds in identical poses as well as eliminating the accidental marks which appear in even the best photographs and can confuse the user.

    The authors have chosen to include the extinct birds of the region as well as the living ones. This puts a certain amount of "deadwood" on the illustration pages, which may be detrimental. But, considering that more than one "extinct" bird has been found after being missing for nearly a hundred years, it is probably worth the minor inconvenience.

    I have used the book extensively in Hawai'i and believe it to be the best guide Hawai'i's birds. I would not consider being without it anywhere in its area of coverage. ... Read more

    20. Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern Region (Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs)
    by Donald Stokes, Lillian Stokes
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1570424837
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
    Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
    Sales Rank: 22159
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (13)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wide Range of Species w/ Excellent Recording
    Lang Elliott dusts off his very thorough bird song library and packages it under the (apprently more popular) "Stokes" brand name in this decent CD. There are 99 species here grouped as follows:

    Disk 1 - Seabirds; Heron-like Birds; Swans, Geese, Ducks; Hawklike Birds; Chickenlike Birds; Marsh Birds; Shore BIrds; Gull-like Birds

    Disk 2 - Pigeonlike Birds; Owls + other Nocturnal Birds; Swifts,Hummingbirds; Woodpeckers; Flycatchers; Shrikes, Vireos; Jays, Crows; Larks, Swallows; Chickadees, Nuthatches, Wrens; Thrushes, Mimics

    Disk 3 - SWarblers; Tanagers, Grossbeaks, Buntings; Sparrows; Blackbirds, Orioles; Finches

    The accompanying booklet provides a very brief description of each bird's calls. I think its a very good overview of alot of different bird calls. I prefer Lang Elliot's "Know Your Bird Sounds Vol. I & II" (which are hard to find). While only covering 35 species each, "Know Your Birds" gives around 3-5 different types of calls apiece which certainly increases one's chances of recognizing the birds in their element.
    For an all around intro to birds, I recommend "Common Birds and their Songs".

    3-0 out of 5 stars not for beginning birders
    I bought this collection to replace a set of Aubudon tapes that I'd lost a few years ago, and have found that I much preferred my old tapes to this collection. While the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs is very comprehensive and has great depth and variety, I am unable to use it to identify a couple of fairly common bird songs I hear in my back yard. With only the bird name and no other description provided on the cds, all of the songs and calls start to run together. What I particularly liked about my previous tapes was the additional song and habitat descriptions provided around the calls. The Stokes companion booklet provides some of this information, but my purpose in purchasing an audio guide was to listen, not to read. For an experienced birder or someone who knows what they are listening for in the field, this will probably be a helpful guide. For someone just starting out, a collection of fewer songs and more description would be a better bet.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good for the intermediate birder
    I first received this as a gift when I was a beginning birder (basically from the backyard) and to be honest - at that point it was too much for me. I just got confused because actually listening to birds and all their different types of songs/calls and then trying to figure out which bird on the cd it might have been was tough (I'd forget what the bird sounded like and it'd leave before I found it on the cd). But that was me as a beginner. Now that I have a few bird songs under my belt and I can tell the difference between a woodpecker and a nuthatch without a second thought (yea, I was a real beginner) this cd is of better use. Now I can use it to hone in on birds that I think the song might be rather than having to go through so many because it was all so new. So, bottom line, I think its an excellent set of cds that you can really learn from but its better for someone who has thew basics down rather than someone who is the blank slate just starting to learn.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT!
    Exactly what I expected and even more. The book is easy to follow with the CDs. I got myself the nicest gift!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Relive Hitchcock.
    A fellow birder brought Stoke's discs on a bird walk early one refreshing May morn' along with a small CD player. I admit I felt uneasy. This was a chance to get away from technology, not be weighed down by it. But yee' have little faith.

    Within a few foot falls we heard what our guide identified as a common yellow throat warbler off in the bush. It seemed this bird was teasing us, saying, "i'm out here but you'll never see me, ha, ha, ha". My friend frantically fumbled with the discs and clicked the >> button 39 times as he counted out loud. Guess he didn't see the little number on the display. To our surprise, as the sound sample played, and we all nodded in agreement "uh-huh, yep, that's it", the warbler hastily arrived on the scene, mad as friggin' hell. He popped all around us from tree to tree as we excitedly looked through our binocs in what birdwatchers often lie about at conventions. Apparently, the bird wholeheartedly endorses the CD. In fact, lucky for us we weren't in Bodega Bay with a couple of fish crows and a script from Alfred Hitchcock.

    The best part was we all got a great close up view of this striking warbler! Samples also worked with an oven bird, house wren, and blue-winged warbler. But don't take my word for it, 4 out 5 birds recommend Stoke's to all the birdwatch challenged. ... Read more

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