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National Audubon Society: The Sibley Guide to Birds
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National Audubon Society: The Sibley Guide to Birds

4.8 17

David Allen Sibley, America's most gifted contemporary painter of birds, is the author and illustrator of this comprehensive guide. His beautifully detailed illustrations—more than 6,600 in all—and descriptions of 810 species and 350 regional populations will enrich every birder's experience.

The Sibley Guide's innovative design makes it


David Allen Sibley, America's most gifted contemporary painter of birds, is the author and illustrator of this comprehensive guide. His beautifully detailed illustrations—more than 6,600 in all—and descriptions of 810 species and 350 regional populations will enrich every birder's experience.

The Sibley Guide's innovative design makes it entirely user friendly. The illustrations are arranged to facilitate comparison, yet still capture the unique character of each species.

The Sibley Guide to Birds provides a wealth of new information:
—Captioned illustrations show many previously unpublished field marks and revisions of known marks
—Nearly every species is shown in flight
—Measurements include length, wingspan, and weight for every species
—Subspecies and geographic varients are covered thoroughly
—Complete voice descriptions are included for every species
—Maps show the complete distribution of every species: summer and winter ranges, migration routes, and rare occurrences

Both novice and experienced birders will appreciate these and other innovative features:
—An introductory page for each family or group of related families makes comparisons simple
—Clear and concise labels with pointers identify field marks directly
—Birds are illustrated in similar poses to make comparisons between species quick and easy
—Illustrations emphasize the way birds look in the field

With The Sibley Guide to Birds, the National Audubon Society makes the art and expertise of David Sibley available to the world in a comprehensive, handsome, easy-to-use volume that will be the indispensable identification guide every birder must own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This wonderful book is comprehensive—erudite—in fact, magnificent, a powerful book that will start a new generation of bird books and birding. It provides triple the educational content over any predecessor. The treatments are innovative and superb."
—Frank Gill, the Director of Science at National Audubon Society
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
This excellent guide, preferred by birding cognoscenti, has made a huge impact and deservedly so. Schematic paintings of birds in all of their plumages are enhanced with a unique circular pattern of informative paragraphs and a range map. A thoroughly revised second edition is due out in 2014. Like the Peterson guides, there are regional Sibleys: The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America (both 2003).
E. Vernon Laux
A must-have guide for anyone interested in birds.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The bird-watching world knows Sibley best as an immensely talented painter. His thick, attractive and data-packed color guide offers nearly 7,000 images, along with range maps and detailed descriptions of songs, calls and voices, for all the birds North Americans might see. It's a more informative volume than Kenn Kaufman's forthcoming Birds of North America (Forecasts, Sept. 11) but less portable and harder for beginners to use. An introduction describes the key parts of major classes of birds--the tomia and culmen of a gull's bill, the scapulars and coverts of passerines (songbirds). Sibley then moves on to hundreds of pages of birds in 42 categories, from Loons and Grebes to Silky Flycatchers and Bulbuls. A typical page has two columns, with one species in each: that species gets a color-coded range map, a description of its voice, and four to eight illustrative paintings. These multiple images of single species are the guide's most attractive feature; they let Sibley show some birds in several poses, as well as important seasonal and regional, juvenile and mature, breeding and nonbreeding, or male and female versions of the same bird. (Gulls, terns, and many other seabirds, in particular, change their patterns completely when breeding.) Sibley assists viewers by giving, on the same page, images of species that might be mistaken for one another--one column shows 13 kinds of thrushes. He also describes calls for every bird (not just the more common ones), and makes many more comparisons. If Kaufman's guide belongs in birders' coat pockets, Sibley's big, detailed book belongs on their desks; it's easy to imagine birders rushing to Sibley's guide to check details of plumage or to confirm an ID the smaller guide has helped them make. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
A renowned bird illustrator presents a field guide to North American birds which details the many plumages and habits, describes songs and calls, and shows the complete distribution of each species. Showing some 810 species and 350 regional populations with nuanced color illustrations, the contents are arranged in groups of related species to allow for easy comparison. Library of Congress CiP shows the title as Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Scientific American Editors
Not only fine feathers, but intelligent organization and design create a new classic...an impressive new guide.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Audubon Society Nature Guides
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

Denny Abbott
Far and away the best single book on North American birds. —(Denny Abbott, founding member, American Birding Association)
Pete Dunne
This book represents the high-water mark for bird guides.—(Pete Dunne, Director of the NJ Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory)
Wayne Petersen
The Sibley Guide raises the standard of excellence in a North American field guide. —(Wayne Petersen, VP, American Birding Association)

Meet the Author

David Allen Sibley, son of the well-known ornithologist Fred Sibley, began seriously watching and drawing birds in 1969, at age seven. He has written and illustrated articles on bird identification for Birding and American Birds (now Field Notes) as well as regional publications and books. Since 1980 David has traveled the continent watching birds on his own and as a tour leader for WINGS, Inc. He has lived in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. He now lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

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National Audubon Society 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We have quite a collection of bird idetification books and I initially debated about purchasing another one. Am I ever glad I did! There is so much, in just the introductory pages-- a wonderful wealth of information-- that it just makes you want to read and learn more. The pictures are really great, especially the variations shown and the in-flight views. It might be a bit overwhelming for a brand new bird lover, just in its size. But, it's one of those 'you get what you pay for' items that you can always grow into! Just days after I purchased it, there was a great review (whole article on Sibley, actually) in TIME. Helped me feel good about buying it! I can't believe how much I have learned in the short time I have had it-- hope other purchasers fell the same way-- go for it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a novice birder, having just gotten hooked in the spring of 2001. The first guide I bought was a pocket book for eastern birds. Then I got a Petersons guide free with a bird feeder . Then I bought the SIbleys guide. It is the BEST. As a novice there are several birds I would not have been able to identify without the Sibleys guide. Some of them were imatures but several were just birds whos pictures or discriptions were poorly displayed in the other two books. Now all I use is SIbleys.I have learned so much from that book and I continue to learn every time I open up the Sibleys Guide To Birds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before reviewing The Sibley Guide to Birds, I would like to note that David Allen Sibley has done an outstanding job of research, illustration, and description in this unique resource. He should be commended and honored for his contribution! Think of this guide as an encyclopedia for experienced bird watchers that you would feel comfortable having with you in your car for checking birds you do not already know well. As such, it will be of most value for those who are doing extensive bird watching in distant geographic areas which are new to them, north of Mexico in North America. The book is too large, bulky, and heavy to be easily carried by most people during actual bird watching activities. If you are making extensive sketches or taking photographs with appropriate lenses, you can probably wait to do your identifications until you get home. If you already have a good guide for identifying rare birds in your library, you can probably skip this book. If you don't have such a guide, this book is for you! As a true, carry-along-with-you field guide, I would rate the book a three star effort for beginning bird watchers because it is well beyond their needs or easy ability to use. A beginner would still be trying to find the right section long after the bird was gone, as Mr. Sibley points out in his excellent inroductory remarks on how to identify birds. The book has many commendable features. The Guide's best feature are the more than 6600 illustrations of 810 species and 350 regional populations. The illustrations also cover each bird during its development to full adult markings and characteristics. Each one is carefully done to capture the bird both sitting and flying from the same perspectives, to make comparisons easier to do. The beginning of the book has a superb, brief description of how to identify the feathered and bare sections of the various major feather groups. Clearly, anyone could enjoy this book simply to view at home in front of the fire on a cold winter's night. The illustrations evoked in me many of the same feelings of wonder that I feel when looking at Audubon's illustrations. The habitat and migration maps are detailed and well done. The voice descriptions are excellent. Many of the species also have good general descriptions. If you are not sure about a person's familiarity with identifying birds, you may not want to give this book as a gift. You may unintentionally provide a volume that will not be very helpful. If someone tells you they want this volume, they will be delighted to receive it as a gift because they will have a practical use for it and will appreciate its beauty. After you have had a chance to look at these gorgeous illustrations, I suggest that you think about the other potential appeals of bird watching. Bird behavior to me is far more interesting than bird identification. I also enjoy watching nesting behavior more than feeding behavior. How can you capture more kinds of fun and learning from your bird watching? What lessons does that hold for observing people, as well? Capture all of your importance experiences in a way that's meaningful to you! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to this book last summer, and it has been the most useful, complete birding packange I've owned. I've given my other bird books to my younger sons and this is now known around the house as 'the Tome.' I can't recommend this book enough. The art is fantastic, the information top-notch and in a package that's just right for carrying around in your pack. If you have to buy ONE birding resource, this is the one you NEED.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best bird book that a birder can purchase. Full of information that one needs to identify the birds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The pictures FINALLY identified birds others didn't show (plumage, etc.). My brother has it and now I need it for the parents- almost took mine!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I let someone borrow this guide and they refused to give it back! I used to carry three books but the Sibley provides everything I need. Every field guide for birding is a compromise between mass and thoroughness. This one, while bigger & heavier than Peterson's, is worth toting in the field. The illustrations are superb, and I disagree with the critic: new birders are more likely to need detail as long as it is logically presented (as it is here).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has instantly become my first reference for bird identification. The illustrations are excellent and they do a wonderful job of presenting the different morphologies in an easy to use fashion. In several instances, birds whose identification remained in question after consulting the National Geographic and Peterson¿s field guides were easily nailed-down using this guide. On the negative side, the maps can be difficult to read clearly, but he most significant complaint is that the size of this field guide makes it difficult to carry in the field. However, I find this guide so useful, that I will simply buy a larger fanny pack.