National Audubon Society: The Sibley Guide to Birds

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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—Captioned illustrations show many previously unpublished field marks and revisions of known marks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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Renowned bird illustrator David Sibley has graced this edition with gorgeous full-color drawings based on a lifetime of observation and study.
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.
Library Journal
The "Peterson Field Guides" series have long served as the benchmark for field guides. Now come two new birding titles that certainly meet the Peterson standard of excellence, with such features as basic information, range maps, voice descriptions, comparisons with similar species, scientific and common name indexes, the specification of field marks, and the inclusion of exotics. Rather than using the typical drawings and paintings, birding expert and Audubon field editor Kaufman selected over 2000 digitally edited photographs, enhanced to improve contrast, color, and the like. The excellent result will appeal to beginning birders perhaps intimidated by illustrations. In order to make useful comparisons, Kaufman varies the organization a bit from the American Ornithological Union (AOU) standard. Helpful headers, color coded to groups (e.g., wading birds), break down further into categories such as huge waders and waders with odd bills. Kaufman's text is simple and uncluttered, a plus for novices. Noted avian artist Sibley provides more than 6000 detailed illustrations (including pictures of the flying bird from above and below, a first in a birding guide) that are as excellent as Kaufman's photos. His text is far more substantial in detail, including flight patterns, more plumage variations (young juvenile, juvenile, adult) for nearly all the birds, and more detail in range maps. Although it is larger and heavier that Kaufman's title, this guide will serve experienced birders extremely well, However, it might provide more information than a beginner needs. The bottom line: both guides are highly recommended for all collections, Kaufman to serve the novices and the unsure, Sibley to delight the more experienced as well. [Kaufman's book was previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/00; for more guidance on field guides, see Christina Peterson's "Tracking Nature Field Guides," LJ 6/1/00, p. 83-87.--Ed.]--Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679451228
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/3/2000
  • Series: Audubon Society Nature Guides
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Classification of Birds
Learning to Identify Birds
Variation in Appearance
Learning Songs and Calls
Finding Rare Birds
Ethics
Extinct Species
Bird Topography
Parts of a Passerine
Head Feathers
Body Feathers
Wing Feathers
Parts of a Shorebird
Parts of a Duck
Parts of a Gull
Molt and Plumage North American Birds Species Accounts
Loons
Grebes
Albatrosses, Petrels, and Shearwaters
Storm-Petrels
Pelecaniformes
Anhinga, Boobies, Cormorants, Frigatebirds, Gannets, Pelicans, Tropicbirds
Cormorants and Anthinga
Identification of Sulids
Wading Birds Bitterns, Egrets, Flamingos, Herons, Ibises, Spoonbills, Storks
Identification of White Herons
Identification of Dark Ibises
Swans, Geese, and Ducks
Identification of Swans
Geese Head and Bill Shapes
Domestic Waterfowl
Exotic Waterfowl
Identification of Scaup
Identification of Eiders
Diving Motions
Identification of Scoters
Identification of Goldeneyes
Diurnal Raptors
Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Vultures
Harrier Flight Shapes
Raptor Hunting Techniques
Identification of Accipiters
Identification of Buteos
Identification of Falcons
Upland Game Birds
Chachalacas, Grouse, Partridges, Pheasants, Prairie-Chickens, Ptarmigan, Quail, Turkeys
Exotic Game Birds
Gruiformes
Coots, Cranes, Limpkin, Moorhens, Rails
Habits of Rails
Shorebirds
Avocets, Curlews, Dowitchers, Godwits,
Jacanas, Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Phalaropes, Plovers, Ruff, Sandpipers, Snipe, Stilts, Turnstones, Willet, Woodcocks, Yellowlegs
Rare Shorebirds
Aging and Identification of Shorebirds
Identification of Peeps
Aerial Displays of Snipe and Woodcock
Identification of Phalaropes
Jaegers and Skuas
Jaeger Bill Shapes
Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers
Hybrid Gulls
Identification of Gulls Alcids
Auklets, Dovekie, Guillemots, Murrelets, Murres, Puffins
Identification of Murres
Pigeons and Doves
Parrots and Their Allies
Cuckoos and Their Allies
Anis, Cuckoos, Roadrunners
Owls
Goatsuckers and Swifts
Hummingbirds
Identification of Hummingbirds
Trogons
Kingfishers
Woodpeckers
Drumming Sounds
Tyrant Flycatchers Flycatchers, Kingbirds, Pewees, Phoebes, Wood-Pewees
Shrikes and Vireos
Jays, Crows, and Their Allies
Crows, Jays, Magpies, Ravens, Scrub-Jays
Larks
Open-Ground Birds
Swallows
Molt in Swallows
Chickadees and Their Allies
Bushtit, Chickadees, Titmice, Verdin
Drab Gray Birds of the Arid Southwest
Nuthatches and Creepers
Wrens
Scold Notes
Sedge Wren and Grass Sparrows
Old World Warblers, Thrushes, and Their Allies
Bluebirds, Dippers, Gnatcatchers, Kinglets, Robins, Thrushes, Warblers, Wrentit
Identification of Gnatcatchers
Typical Thrushes
Robinlike Songs
Mimids
Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Thrashers
Starlings and Mynas
Wagtails and Pipits
Silky-Flycatchers and Bulbuls
Waxwings
Wood-Warblers Parulas, Redstarts, Warblers, Waterthrushes
Blue-winged x Golden-winged Hybrids
Warbler Plumages
Identification of Fall Warblers
Identifying Songs
Aberrant Passerines
Tanagers, Cardinals, and Their Allies
Bananaquit, Cardinaline Buntings, Cardinals, Dickcissel, Grosbpeaks, Tanagers
Identification of Tanagers
Identification of Grosbeaks
Identification of Cardinaline Buntings
Emberizine Sparrows and Their Allies
Emberizine Buntings, Juncos, Longspurs, Sparrows, Towhees
Identification of Spizella Sparrows
Sparrowlike Birds
Identification of Emberizine Buntings
Icterids
Blackbirds, Bobolink, Cowbirds, Grackles, Meadowlarks, Orioles
Identification of Meadowlarks
Identification of Orioles
Finches
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2001

    Glad I bought it!!

    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!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2002

    #1 For The Novice

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Valuable Reference for Traveling, Experienced Bird Watchers

    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

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    National Audubon Society Wildflowers

    This is a wonderful guide to take with you when traveling. The book's organization enables you to find the names of flowers quickly and easily. Each section of the book is divided first by the flower's color, then by the flower's shape, number of pedals, placement of pedals, etc. After you find the picture of the flower, you are then directed to a description in the back of the book giving you a more complete description and growth habits. Although the book is hefty, the size is small enough to tuck into my backpack for day hikes. On longer hikes when the weight you are carrying is more important the book stays in the car and is used when flower photos are uploaded.
    All of the Audubon's books are great and make great gifts for like minded friends.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2005

    Indespensible

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful, easy to use guide

    This is one of my favorite reference books. I love taking walks through the countryside and looking at the different plants and animals. This book (along with the field guide to trees) is one of the best to take along. Identification is easy with the neatly organized pictures, and the descriptions are complete and interesting. Brief history is included with some plants (i.e., native to East Asia and brought to the US). Some people may need to study some botany to understand all the terms included, but it's not necessary to enjoy the book.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    Audubon Society--Just what you would expect!

    Excellent review for all those flowers, weeds, trees, etc. you encounter on your walk or in someone's garden.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    good book

    this book is nice,for people who are interested in wild flowers.
    I'm just a beginner.and it's very useful.
    this is a book to buy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    For identifying wildflowers on the trail

    I have had the chance to view the spectacular forest wildflowers of the eastern U.S. many, many memorable times, from bluebells to shooting stars to all the different varieties of trilliums. Most of these flowers I learned to identify with the help of a few friends while on the trails. However, this guide, which was given as a gift to me, has proven incredibly helpful in identifying the wildflowers for which I didn't know the names. Full color plates as well as maps of distribution and descriptions of habitats are provided in this book, which is light and therefore quite easily portable. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in wildflowers of the eastern U.S.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    Great Book

    This is the best bird book that a birder can purchase. Full of information that one needs to identify the birds.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2002

    The Best

    My child had to do a wildflower project for her school... she needed to identify and find 40 flowers. This helped alot having it at home. The pictures are great with grat color. Things were easy to find in this and it was so good. I would recconmend it if needed. I only had to use it once but it is great to look at if you are bored one day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2000

    Perfect fo backyard birding!

    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!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2000

    The New Standard

    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).

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2000

    A Field Guide for Everyone

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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