| The National Audubon Society Book of Birds of North America | National Audubon Society (NAS) | Knopf Publishing Group | 2021 | Hardback | 912 Pages | <5000 Colour Photos | ISBN: 9780525655671 | £48.99p |

From the well-known creators of the Audubon field guides comes this massive tome, covering more than 800 species of North American birds in over 900 pages and 5,000 colour photos.

The Publisher’s View:

From the most trusted name in birding – beloved by millions, backyard enthusiast and expert alike – comes a completely new and definitive guide to the birds of North America: the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date work of its kind.

Developed by the creators of the best-selling Audubon field guides, The National Audubon Society Book of Birds of North America is the result of a collaboration between leading scientists, scholars, taxonomic and field experts, photo editors, and designers. An indispensable reference, it covers more than 800 species, with nearly 5,000 full-color photographs of birds in their natural habitat, often with four or five photographs for each species. For ease of use, the book includes a glossary and a robust index, and is arranged according to the American Ornithological Society’s 2019 Birds of North and Middle America Checklist – with birds sorted by taxonomic orders and grouped by family, so that related species are presented together. Range maps, reflecting the impacts of climate change, accompany nearly every species, along with a physical description, information on voice, nesting, habitat, similar species, and an important new category on conservation status. Essays by leading scholars in each field provide holistic insights into the world of birds. Whether trying to determine which owl is interrupting your dinner, or tracking down all of the wood warblers that arrive in spring, readers will come to rely on this work of remarkable breadth, depth, and elegance. It is a must-have reference for the library of any birder, and is certain to become the number-one guide in the field.

Fatbirder View:

This is an authoritative reference book, not a field guide… it is literally too heavy, and, anyway, if you have your Sibley field guide why would you want another?

As such I forgive the use of photographs throughput rather than line drawings. The photos are good, nonetheless, and often there are a few on the relevant page so do help with ID although comparisons need drawings taken, as it were, in the same light, at the same time of year from the same angle.

The text covers the ground with good maps showing distribution and the text going further than descriptions and the usual habit and nesting descriptions to delve into conservation status. Every birder needs to know what is in decline and why in order to support better conservation, especially after the last few years of disastrous inroads into wild areas by extraction industries.

So a well-produced and attractive guide that will grace any shelf… it certainly gets my vote.


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