A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America / Edition 5

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Overview

Roger Tory Peterson had already made his mark with his innovative field guide when he conducted DDT research during World War II. His friend and fellow naturalist Rachel Carson built on these efforts and eventually wrote Silent Spring, a landmark text that, along with Peterson's field guide, jump-started the modern environmental movement.
By combining the tireless observation of a scientist with the imaginative skills of an artist and writer, Peterson created a field guide that Robert Bateman, in his foreword to the fifth edition, says was the doorway for millions of people into the wonderland of natural history.
The Peterson Identification System has been used in the more than fifty books that make up the Peterson Field Guide series. Peterson's magnum opus, now in its fifth edition, created the trail for countless field guides to follow. They are still following year by year, but his is the standard by which all other field guides are judged.
On the morning of July 28, 1996, Roger Peterson was painting his final bird plate. He died peacefully in his sleep later that day. It is fitting that his final work—a culmination of more than sixty years of observing, painting, and writing—should be this one, a revision of the guide that started his legacy.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Roger Tory Peterson is a legend among birders, and for good reason. This is his final book -- he died peacefully after spending the day painting for this guide -- and it reflects Peterson's decades-long experience creating one of the most widely used identification systems for birds.
From The Critics
This field guide for bird watchers features over 1,800 detailed color illustrations of birds of eastern and central North America with descriptions of their appearance, voice, habitat, and range on the facing pages. The brief notes on general range are keyed by number to three-color range maps in the rear of the book. A mini-tutorial on bird identification is found in the introduction. The late naturalist and artist Roger Tory Peterson developed the Peterson Identification System used by birders nationwide since 1934. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395740460
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/4/2002
  • Series: Peterson Field Guides Series
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.

Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.

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Read an Excerpt

CHIMNEY SWIFT Chaetura pelagica Common
5–51⁄2" (12–14 cm) Like a cigar with wings. A blackish swallowlike bird with long, slightly curved, stiff wings and stubby tail. It appears to beat its wings not in unison but alternately (actually this is an illusion); effect is more batlike, unlike skimming of swallows. They seem to fairly twinkle, gliding between spurts, holding wings bowed in a crescent.

Voice: Loud, rapid, ticking or twittering notes.

Range: S. Canada to Gulf of Mexico. Winters in Peru.

Habitat: Open sky, especially over cities, towns; nests and roosts in chimneys (originally in large hollow trees and cliff crevices).

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Table of Contents

Map of Area Covered by This Book ii

Foreword xi

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

Life List 14

Loons: Gaviidae 26

Grebes: Podicipedidae 28

Shearwaters: Procellariidae 30

Storm-Petrels: Hydrobatidae 34

Casual or Accidental Seabirds and Coastal Species 34

Pelicans: Pelecanidae 38

Frigatebirds: Fregatidae 38

Gannets, Boobies: Sulidae 40

Tropicbirds: Phaethontidae 40

Cormorants: Phalacrocoracidae 42

Anhingas: Anhingidae 42

Loons in Flight 44

Cormorants in Flight 44

Herons, Egrets, Bitterns: Ardeidae 46

Limpkins: Aramidae 52

Ibises and Spoonbills: Threskiornithidae 52

Flamingoes: Phoenicopteridae 54

Storks: Ciconiidae 56

Cranes: Gruidae 56

Accidental Long-legged Wading Birds 58

Swans, Geese, Ducks: Anatidae 60

Swans: Anserinae 60

Geese: Anserinae 60

Geese and Swans in Flight 64

Whistling-Ducks: Dendrocygninae 66

Dabbling Ducks: Anatinae 66

Diving Ducks: Aythyinae 72

Stiff-tailed Ducks: Oxyurinae 78

Merganser: Merginae 80

Flight Patterns of Ducks 82

Accidentals from Eurasia 90

Accidentals from the Tropics 90

New World Vultures: Cathartidae 92

Caracaras and Falcons: Falconidae(Bird Hawks): Accipitrinae 98

Buteos (Buzzard Hawks): Buteoninae (in part) 100

Buteos Overhead 106

Harriers: Circinae 108

Blackish Birds of Prey Overhead 110

Eagles: Buteoninae (in part) 112

Ospreys: Pandionidae 112

Eagles, Osprey, and Vultures Overhead 114

Falcons: Falconidae 116

Accipiters and Falcons Overhead 118

Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, and Allies: Phasianidae 120

Grouse, etc.: Tetraoninae 122

New World Quails: Odontophoridae 124

Ducklike Swimmers (Coots, Gallinules):

Rallidae (in part) 126

Rails, Gallinules, and Coots: Rallidae 128

Plovers: Charadriidae 132

Plovers and Turnstone in Flight 136

Large Shorebirds in Flight 144

Oystercatchers: Haematopodidae 146

Avocets and Stilts: Recurvirostridae 146

Sandpipers and Phalaropes: Scolopacidae 150

"Peeps" 158

Snipe, Sandpipers, etc., in Flight 160

Sandpipers, Phalaropes in Flight 162

Phalaropes: Phalaropodinae 164

Accidental Shorebirds from Eurasia 166

Jaegers: Stercorariidae 170

Gulls: Laridae 172

Small Hooded Gulls: Adults 180

Immature Gulls: Larger Species 182

Immature Gulls: Smaller Species 184

Terns: Sterninae 186

Skimmers: Rynchopinae 190

Auks, etc.: Alcidae 192

Pigeons and Doves: Columbidae 196

Parrots, Par Caprimulgidae 208

Nighthawks: Caprimulgidae 210

Hummingbirds: Trochilidae 212

Kingfishers: Alcedinidae 214

Woodpeckers: Picidae 216

Tyrant Flycatchers: Tyrannidae 222

Accidental Flycatchers 228

Larks: Alaudidae 230

Pipits: Motacillidae 230

Swallows: Hirundinidae 232

Swifts: Apodidae 234

Chickadees and Titmice: Paridae 236

Nuthatches: Sittidae 238

Creepers: Certhiidae 238

Wrens: Troglodytidae 240

Gnatcatchers (Polioptilinae) and Kinglets (Regulidae) 242

Bulbuls: Pycnonotidae 242

Thrushes: Turdidae 244

Mockingbirds and Thrashers: Mimidae 248

Crows, Jays, etc.: Corvidae 252

Shrikes: Laniidae 254

Waxwings: Bombycillidae 254

Vireos: Vireonidae 256

Wood-Warblers: Parulidae 260

Confusing Fall Warblers 278

Tanagers: Thraupidae 282

Grosbeaks, Finches, Sparrows, Buntings:

Fringillidae, Emberizidae, Cardinalidae 284

Blackbirds, Orioles, etc.: Icteridae 310

Starlings: Sturnidae 312

Orioles 316

Old World Sparrows: Passeridae 318

Miscellaneous Finchlike Birds 318

South Texas Specialties 320

More South Texas Specialties 322

Accidentals from the Tropics 324

Accidentals and Escapes from Eurasia 326

Exotics 328

Range Maps 333

Index of Scientific Names 411
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2010

    This Birder's Bible

    I actually bought this copy for my 9-year-old grandson because he expressed an interest after visiting us and hearing me identify the many birds that come to our feeders. I have many bird books but this one is my favorite and is always handy near my binoculars.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful Classic

    I became aware of Roger Tory Peterson when I was back in grade school in the 1950's. His field guide was certainly one of the standards of the day. I think it is still one of the very best for field identification of birds. I have always preferred field guides that illustrated with paintings rather than photographs, and I am a photographer. I would recommend other materials to be used as references to supplement this identification guide. There are two companion audio CD volumes to this book that are separately available that I also recommend highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

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    Posted September 7, 2010

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    Posted May 2, 2010

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    Posted December 19, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

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