Tuesday, November 6, 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer


This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy.

With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists (including the ever-popular hummingbird), this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada. The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species; 16 new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations; 80 new maps; and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.

Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by National Geographic Society

My Thoughts

One of the joys of having your own home is having your own yard. And one of the joys of having your own yard is the wildlife that comes with it. Squirrels, opossums, raccoons, butterflies and bees, even rats (yes, they are wildlife, too! What's a squirrel, but a rat with a fluffy tail!) And, of course, birds!

Every spring I keep an eye out for the baby birds that wind up on the ground, in order to protect them from the dogs and make sure the parents are caring for them. And at times in the past it has led to me trying to figure out what type of parent bird is attacking me in defense of its baby. I wish I'd had this guide then!

This is a really nice guide! The cover is heavy gauge paper and glossy, and declares that the guide has ALL 1,023 SPECIES of North American birds!  Now in its seventh edition, this guide has more than 900 maps and 3500 illustrations. The book is a nice size at 5.5 by 8 inches-- not too big and not too small!

Open the book to find a Quick-Find Index on the inside cover listing every type of bird (i.e. grouse, eagle, martin, vireo) and a quick page listing. The inside of the back cover has a map key to common map symbols used throughout the book. Both the inside front and back covers fold out to reveal a "Visual Index of Bird Families".

The book is notched with quick tabs to Sandpipers, Gulls, Hawks, Flycatchers, Thrushes, Warblers and Sparrows. The introduction explains what species were included in the book, which includes some "accidental species" that have made appearances, but don't have a foothold in the country and have fewer than three sightings in the past two decades (or five sightings in the last hundred years). Some species are introduced species, like the European Starling, and are even deemed a nuisance. The book explains:
In general the ABA [American Birding Association] requires an introduced population to have been present and stable for at least 15 years to be considered established.
The book diagrams the parts of a bird, for those of us interested in an anatomy lesson, and talks about things like plumage variations and voice.

Each family listing outlines the different species found in that family and has a brief description of the family. For example, for the Anatidae family (ducks, geese, swans) it describes them as:
Web-footed, gregarious birds, ranging from small ducks to swans. Largely aquatic, but geese, swans, and some "puddle ducks" also graze on land.
It then tells us that there are 160 duck, geese and swan species worldwide, and 66 in North America.

Each listing then goes on to list each species, and includes illustrations for both juveniles and adults, maps of the range of the various species, their size, how their plumage changes as they mature, and a description of their voice. The species within a family are sorted, such as grouping together Whistling Ducks, or Perching Ducks (like our own invasive Muskovy Duck here in south Florida).

At the end of the book is a list of "accidentals" and extinct species. Extinct species include the Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, and the beautiful Carolina Parakeet (last seen in the early 1900s).

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, November 6th: she treads softly
Tuesday, November 6th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, November 7th: BookExpression
Thursday, November 8th: Helen’s Book Blog
Friday, November 9th: Instagram: @booksofmainandmaple
Monday, November 12th: Birdchick
Monday, November 12th: Minnesota Birdnerd
Tuesday, November 13th: Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds
Wednesday, November 14th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, November 15th: Just a Secular Homeschooler
Thursday, November 15th: Instagram: @wellreadmama
Friday, November 16th: The Bird Blogger
Monday, November 19th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 20th: Instagram: @megabunnyreads
Wednesday, November 21st: Literary Quicksand
Monday, November 26th: Eliot’s Eats
Tuesday, November 27th: A Dream Within a Dream
Tuesday, November 27th: Well-Read Naturalist

My final word: This book really has it all. It's thorough and concise. The book feels high-quality, and is beautifully illustrated and enormously informative. This one is a must-have for all birders, whether amateur or experienced!

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.