Reader's Digest North American Birds celebrates the hundreds of species that spend at least part of the year in the United States or Canada. It includes some 600 species in all and the 8 chapters are organized by type and habitat. Each page features a full-colour painting, usually of a male in breeding plumage, since the male is more colourful than the female, accompanied by a brief narrative focusing on key aspects of the bird in the wild. At the bottom of each page is information for quick reference, with details on identification, habitat, nesting, and food. In addition, a drawing highlights a particular point of interest about the species, and a colour-coded range map showing where it can be found.
There is a Special Collection of more than 100 species that are rare or have limited ranges in North America and a Traveler's Guide arranged alphabetically by state and province, describing more than 350 prime locations for seeing America's birds at their best. The illustrations and paintings are from some of the most renowned wildlife artists in the field, such as H. Douglas Pratt, Ray Harris-Ching, and Albert Earl Gilbert.