512 pages, 2000 colour photos, colour distribution maps, includes audio CD
This field guide to North American birds, written by the foremost birding writers, delivers a power-punch of innovation and usability never before brought to together in one reference. With 730 new color maps based on the latest range information (more than any other previous field guide), Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America emphasizes on bird behaviour and a 'whole bird' philosophy of field identification. It contains informative essays on each bird group giving vital information regarding behaviour and id tips and robust introduction to birds and birding precedes the species accounts with sections on species I.D., conservation, bird morphometrics, topography, and migration.Vocalisations on the accompanying CD are clearly organised in separate tracks for each species – this is a fantastic advantage that no other collection like this has ever provided. In the past, CD recordings ran species vocalizations together in one long track. Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America format allows for hundreds of separate tracks – users can listen to a particular vocalization easily and quickly. This is key for learning to I.D. birds by song and for use in the field.
"[...] The Smithsonian guide is a little large to fit in most pockets, but would otherwise be a perfectly acceptable primary field guide. But I think its real value is as a reference and photographic compliment to your primary guide. Overall, I consider this the best photographic field guide to North American birds to date.
My only reservation is that it may be a little too advanced for beginning birders. At least I can see how it could have been somewhat confusing for me when I first started out. I would say that the Kaufman guide is probably the best photographic guide for those new to birding."
- Grant McCreary (17-06-2008), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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Ted Floyd is the editor of Birding magazine, the flagship publication of the American Birding Assocation.