Books  Ornithology  Birds of the Americas  Birds of North America 

Birds of Western North America: A Photographic Guide

Field / Identification Guide

By: Paul Sterry(Author), Brian E Small(Illustrator)

416 pages, 1341 colour photos, 449 maps

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Oct 2009 | #180671 | ISBN-13: 9780691134284
Availability: Usually dispatched within 3 days Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $19/€17 approx
Hardback | Oct 2009 | #180672 | ISBN-13: 9780691134277
Out of Print Details

About this book

Combining informative and accessible text, up-to-date maps, and – above all – stunning colour photographs, this is the best and most lavishly illustrated photographic guide to the birds of western North America. All of the images have been carefully selected to convey both the sheer beauty and the key identification features of each bird, and many of the photos are larger than those found in other guides. Wherever possible, a variety of plumages are pictured, providing visual coverage and usefulness matching any artwork-illustrated field guide. And many of the images are state-of-the-art digital photographs by Brian Small, one of North America's finest bird photographers. These pictures, many seen here for the first time, reproduce a previously unimaginable level of detail.

Finally, the ranges of nearly all species are shown on maps from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the authority on North American birding. New and experienced birders alike will find Birds of Western North America indispensable: the clear layout will help novices easily identify the birds they see, while the superb photographs will help seasoned birders confirm identifications. The best, most lavishly illustrated photographic guide to the region's birds. It contains larger colour photos than most other field guides. It presents fresh contemporary design – clear, easy-to-use, and attractive. It is informative, accessible, and authoritative text. It includes range maps from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. It covers entire western half of mainland North America (excluding Mexico) and the arctic and subarctic territorial islands of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Hawaii).

"Fills a real need for a comprehensive regional guide. Where most are sketchy at best, noting only the most common birds, Sterry and Small cover more than 500 species an variants – including birds that migrate down the Pacific and Rocky Mountain flyways and over the eastern Pacific Ocean, as well as Eastern birds known to visit [...] Sterry and Small present their information in an organized, easy-to-use manner. Small's photos are uniformly excellent, clearly showing fine detail in patterns and colors; the helpful layout makes it easy to compare similar-looking birds, meaning slight differences will be apparent even to novice birders [...] It should be welcomed into the backpacks of western U.S. birders."
Publishers Weekly

"Brian Small and co-author Paul Sterry have taken the photo-based field guide to a new level. Their new books are beautifully designed and well written. Photos are tack-sharp, and tightly cropped, giving close-up views of each bird."
– Matt Mendenhall, Birder's World

"Whether you are a birding fanatic or someone who enjoys looking in their backyard to see what shows up, there is a new bird guide that will fill your need [...] With great photos of more than 500 species, this is a wonderful photographic guide making identification of birds that much easier. Both the Eastern and Western versions are great gift ideas."
– Ken Moran, New York Post

"The large, excellent photos, combined with the overall design, make this probably the most attractive general field guide I've seen [...] This is the first field guide that I would recommend to bird photography aficionados solely on the merit of the pictures, irrespective of its value as a field guide. Finally, the exceptional, large photographs make these an attractive primary field guide option for new and burgeoning birders."
– Grant McCreary, Birder's Library

"These guides will be most useful for intermediate level birders."
– Ian Paulsen, Birdbooker Report

"Excellent state-of-the art digital photos and comprehensive, up-to-date data on North American birds [...] Comparable guides include Ted Floyd's Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America and Edward Brinkley's National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Field Guide to Birds of North America. All three titles are excellent. However, the Sterry-Small guide's larger photos aid identification and highlight variable plumage. Corner insets identify groups of birds for easier browsing. Birders will love the portability, excellent photography, habitat, and conservation information."
– Sally Bickley, Library Journal

"This pair of photographic guides provides superb quality photographic images which are well up to the best of modern standards. If your American photo-guides are a few years old, now is the time to update them. The text is surprisingly detailed and concisely covers all plumages, as well as 'Status and Habitat,' 'Voice,' and 'Observation tips,' and the distribution maps are detailed and clear. These are now the best photographic guides for North America and exceptional value-for-money too."
– Steve Gantlett, Birding World

"Flat-out gorgeous. We see the birds standing, swimming and in flight. There's the usual field buide-style information – maps of their range, what they sound like, etc. – but this book seems to make things uniquely clear."
– Sandy Bauers, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Birds of Eastern North America: A Photographic Guide and Birds of Western North America: A Photographic Guide should be a welcome addition to the libraries of serious birders as well as those who enjoy birdwatching only from their own backyard feeders [...] I recommend both books."
– Brad Sylvester, Manchester Bird Watching Examiner

"The guides are, in a word, gorgeous – the photos are crisp (the latest digital technology captures rich detail) and the page layout is superb."
– Fannie Peczenik, Pittsburgh Bird Watching Examiner

"The photos in these books are large, crisp and clear [...] They are durable field guides that easily slip into a backpack or even a large pocket in an overcoat, but their pictures are good enough to be a coffee table book [...] Of all the various field guides I have ever seen, these [...] are by far the best."
– James Swan,

"Outstanding [...] The photos are of such superb detail you expect them to fly off the pages."
– Bill Cochran, Roanoke Times

"Stunning. This was the first word that came to mind upon cracking open these new guides [...] The photography alone is worth owning both Eastern and Western editions. Even so, the accompanying text is fantastic too."
– Eddie Callaway,

"I was immediately captivated by the stunning photographs [...] This one's a keeper." –
George Smith, Down

"Paul Sterry and Brian Small have created books with large, superior photos placed on pages designed to be lively and interesting. The text accompanying each species is three or four times as long as what you find in most ID books. It's pertinent and sharply written."
– Jim Williams, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A fine pair of guides for North America [...] Small's photos are big, bright, and tack-sharp [...] Sterry's generous accounts supplement the accompanying photographs well [...] worthwhile acquisitions for field guide consumers and completists alike."
– Mike Bergin, 10,000 Birds

"Informative and accessible text, up-to-date maps, and stunning color photographs. Images have been carefully selected to convey both the sheer beauty and the key identification features of each bird, and many of the photos are larger than those found in most other guides."
OSNA Birds

"I never used to be very keen on photographic field guides for birds until I perused these two volumes [...] An excellent volume set for the North American birder, complete with lavish photos larger than those seen in other field guides, useful, up-to-date range maps and an easy-to-use format."
– David Bird, Montreal Gazette

"The Sterry/Small guides are an innovative, useful addition to the arsenal of tools available to help us improve our birding skills. These outstanding guides deserve a place in your pocket, bookshelf, nightstand and bathroom."
– Wayne Mones, Audubon Magazine web site

"Deserve a perch in your birding library. Birds of Western North America and its companion guide Birds of Eastern North America are photographic field guides, with clear, well-defined full-color photos for ease of identification."
– David Buchanan, Grand Junctions Sentinel

"Certainly the best and most lavishly illustrated photographic guide to the birds of western North America that I have seen."
– Fatbirder

"Fabulous photographic field guides [...] Birds of Eastern North America: A Photographic Guide, and its companion piece Birds of Western North America, are a tremendous addition to any library of bird identification literature [...] Even those accustomed to an artist's illustration rather than photography to highlight identification features will find themselves reaching for these volumes time after time to confirm a field sighting of a bird in its natural habitat."
Birding Business

"These indispensable guides will quickly become the preferred photographic guides for new and experienced birders alike. The clear layout will help novices easily identify the birds they see, while the superb photographs will help seasoned birders confirm identifications."
Adventure Sports Outdoors

"With these volumes, we've at last found photographic guides that are as easy to identify birds from as I.D. books that feature paintings [...] [These] photographic guides aren't pocket size, but they're small enough that we'll carry them in the car and, with binoculars, in a pack on a serious birding outing. We expect to spend some enjoyable winter evenings browsing through them, enjoying the superb photos, and readable text, looking up old friends and preparing to meet new ones."
– Bob and Linda Steiner, The Derrick

"The title really does do this book justice: the amazing photographs are certainly the focus of this colorful field guide. This field guide is also reasonably priced and won't burn your budget [...] I would recommend this guide for a beginner bird-watcher who is eager to see some beautiful photographs and quality range maps displayed in a user-friendly format."
– Cory J. Gregory, Iowa Bird Life

"These guides are certainly worthy as a secondary field guide and photographic reference. No question, they are certainly the best photographic guides currently available."
– Alan Knue, South Dakota Bird Notes

"Sterry and Small have created the best photograph based field guides I have seen for North American birds."
– Michael J. Andersen, Quarterly Review of Biology

"[T]hese [two] books do have truly wonderful photographs and written descriptions that are useful in identifying and differentiating species. The guides could be especially useful to the casual birder. If you consider the cost of the paperback edition, they are an attractive, affordable addition to one's library."
– Clayton M. White, Western North American Naturalist

"With the proliferation of options, choosing a good field guide is increasingly a question of personal preference. Most of my casual birder friends prefer photographic guides; most keen birders seem to prefer traditional guides with paintings. I would recommend this book for novice birders and for those wanting to supplement a more traditional guide."
– Mark Gawn, Canadian Field-Naturalist

"The large, well-composed and well-edited photographs, combined with good text and range maps, may very well place these as the top photographic guides for North America."
– Nathan Hentze, Discovery

"Birds of Western North America and the Birds of Eastern North America are quite simply the most lavishly illustrated photographic guides to date of North American avifauna. Because of that fact, perhaps amateur and advanced birders will not object to procuring both books together when exploring such birding hot spots as the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and elsewhere."
– Gene Wilhelm, Pennsylvania Birds

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Paul Sterry is a highly regarded and best-selling wildlife author and photographer. He is the author or coauthor of more than 50 books, including the HarperCollins Complete North American Wildlife and the Collins Complete British Birds.

Brian E. Small is a leading nature photographer and author, and the photo editor of Birding magazine. He has been the principal photographer for many photographic field guides, including The Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America (HarperCollins) and Birds of North America (Houghton Mifflin).

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