Edited by Jonathan Alderfer | National Geographic Books | hardback | October 2014 | Edition: 2 | 743 Pages | Detailed Colour Illustrations and Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9781426213731
The Publisher’s View:
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMPLETE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, SECOND EDITION
Now Covering More Than 1,000 Species With the Most-Detailed Information Found in a Single Volume.
The National Geographic has published a fully revised and updated version of one of its most popular birding guides. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMPLETE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, SECOND EDITION: Now Covering More Than 1,000 Species With the Most-Detailed Information Found in a Single Volume. Edited by best-selling birding author Jonathan Alderfer, it is a comprehensive and easy-to-use reference covering every wild bird species found in North America as well as a variety of exotic species that are established or regularly observed.
The guide, which is a companion to “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America,” provides in-depth information on identification, similar species, geographic variation, population and range, plumage, taxonomy, behaviour, voice call and status. Through more than 4,000 annotated illustrations by expert bird artists, 180 colour photographs, hundreds of fully updated range and migration maps, and text by America’s top birding authorities, the book covers over 1,000 species. The range maps are augmented with a group of large-scale specialty maps that show migration routes, vagrancy patterns or historical data. There are over 800 maps in this edition.
Organized by family, genus and species, the guide follows the taxonomic sequence and naming conventions adopted by the American Ornithologists’ Union as of August 2013. Like the first-edition best-seller, the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMPLETE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, SECOND EDITION is suitable for both novice and more experienced birders and provides guidance on how bird enthusiasts of any level can enhance their field craft. With its new art, new maps and new species, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMPLETE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, SECOND EDITION is an essential resource for birders’ libraries.
The Editor: Jonathan Alderfer, a widely published author and field guide illustrator, is well known in the birding community for his expertise as a field ornithologist and his knowledge of North American birds. He has served as editor, author and illustrator on a number of National Geographic birding books, including the fourth, fifth and sixth editions of the best-selling “Field Guide to the Birds of North America.”
Fatbirder View:This is a great reference book and I am sure that a lot of US birders will want this on their shelves for when they spot something that they are not sure of even after flipping through their fieldguide. It is nicely illustrated and the text is helpful. Probably the best feature is the detail such a large format can give to a distribution map… if you sport in Oregon something that has only ever been seen on the Texas-Mexico border chances are you need to re-think your ID.
This is not a book for the pocket, rucksack or car so you will need to have taken a photo or good notes for when you can consult it.
My one beef with the book is that it doesn’t actually cover North America… it really covers just Canada and the USA. Of course any Mexican bird that manages to pop across the Rio Grande gets in but the stay-at-homes don’t! Greenland has also been deliberately omitted. Now its fine to limit one’s coverage but its not fine to entitle it the Complete Birds of North America when it isn’t. It should be called the Complete Birds of North America, North of Mexico excluding Greenland! Is this chauvinism, ignorance of just sloppiness?