National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America

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Overview

Essential for the estimated 62 million Americans who watch and feed birds in their backyards—from the experts at National Geographic and co-author of the popular and perennial best seller Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
 
No matter where you live—in the country, city, a high-rise or house—this handy guide will quench your curiosity about the feathered creatures in your midst. It features 150 of the most common and ...

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Overview

Essential for the estimated 62 million Americans who watch and feed birds in their backyards—from the experts at National Geographic and co-author of the popular and perennial best seller Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
 
No matter where you live—in the country, city, a high-rise or house—this handy guide will quench your curiosity about the feathered creatures in your midst. It features 150 of the most common and interesting birds likely to be observed at backyard feeders, nesting nearby or just migrating through. An indispensable visual index of all 150 species appears on the inside front and back laminated covers, making identification a snap.
 
Beginning with Backyard Basics, an easy-to-follow, richly illustrated presentation on observing and identifying birds—with tips on attracting and feeding your favorite birds, birdhouses, and bird-friendly landscapes to entice nesting—the book is full of National Geographic’s iconic field guide images and maps.
 
Core species on everyone’s list—such as robins, woodpeckers, bluebirds and chickadees—are featured in two-page spreads including practical tips with additional imagery. Sidebars captivate with interesting and little known facts.
 
Backyard Guide to Birds is linked to even more content, including audio of each of the book’s 150 birds’ songs and calls at nationalgeographic.com/birding.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Valuable, as both a reference and as a 'browsing' book." –Bird Watchers Digest

“Like everything published by the National Geographic Society, it's first rate…many of the bird illustrations painted by the foremost birding artist Jonathan Alderfer…What sets [it] apart is the inclusion of photographs, lists of preferred foods and nesting habitats, seasonal range maps, and keys to identification — all tailored toward the backyard birder. –Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“A great book to give to those backyard birdwatchers in your life—or any friend or neighbor who might appreciate the birds in their yard…attractively designed and chock-full of useful and interesting information…provides many ways to approach, identify, and enjoy birds. Each section includes noteworthy features that make it not only beautiful but useful.” –The Birdchaser 

“A handy-sized, easy-to-use tool for backyard birding…The information on each species is superb…fascinating nuggets…” –Birdfreak.com

 “Even inexperienced birders will be able to easily use this highly illustrated guide.”
 –Book News, Inc.
 
“National Geographic turns its considerable field guide expertise to birds of the backyard.”
BirdWatching

Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
This title covers 150 common species and offers excellent range maps. An attractive, inviting basic guide to some of our birds for the novice. Laura Erickson and Alderfer's Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic, 2013) provides comparable but shorter species accounts, smaller maps, and less introductory material but covers 160 species.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426207204
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Series: National Geographic Backyard Guides Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 97,016
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Alderfer is a nationally known bird artist and author who has worked on a number of National Geographic's birding books. His previous titles for National Geographic include Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America, Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America, Illustrated Birds, Birding Essentials, and Complete Birds of North America.

Jon L. Dunn and Louise Zemaitis, authors and experts on bird feeding, landscaping for birds, butterflies, and birding for children, will contribute to the book.

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Read an Excerpt

The Best Foods to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
 
Seeds, staples of backyard bird feeding, come in a sometimes confusing variety. Yet a few basic types will satisfy a diverse clientele. Other foods may attract different birds.
 
• Sunflower seeds: These come in two kinds. The smaller black-oil sunflower seeds will bring the greatest variety of species, from chickadees and titmice to jays. The larger striped type is better for strong-billed birds such as Purple Finches and Evening Grosbeaks. Even woodpeckers will visit a hopper or tray feeder for sunflower seeds.
 
• Mixed seeds: A birdseed mix should be an important part of any backyard menu, but quality varies greatly. The best mixtures are combinations of black-oil sunflower, white proso millet, bits of nuts and corn, and perhaps safflower as well. Avoid the least expensive mixtures, which are filled with the small globes of red milo, which very few birds except doves eat.
 
• Nuts and corn: Almost all seed-eating birds will enjoy unsalted nuts broken into bits with a rolling pin, and larger birds including jays will like cracked corn (although rake it up if it gets wet). Scatter the nuts and corn on the ground and hope that the birds will get their fair share before the squirrels arrive for breakfast.
 
• Suet and peanut butter: These are high-energy winter foods loved by many species. See page 23 for tips on how to provide them. Suet is favored especially by woodpeckers. Peanut butter is a source of crucial energy for birds in winter, and it can be lifesaving for Carolina Wrens at the northern end of their range in a harsh season.
 
• Fruits: Oranges cut in half or apples and other fruits cut in pieces are favorites of orioles, especially when they return in the spring to breed. Berries are a favored winter food for thrushes, Cedar Waxwings, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, but these are best provided by landscaping with shrubs that will be loaded with berries during fall and winter.
 
 • Specialties: Experiment with other types of foods such as mealworms, which parents feed to nestlings; crushed oyster shell, a source of calcium; or stone grit, which various birds require to crush foods in their gizzard. Avoid using old bread.
 
• Hummingbird food: Nothing beats the classic, simple recipe of one part white granulated sugar to four parts water. Boil the water, then add the sugar and stir. Don’t use food coloring or artificial sweetener.

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First Chapter

National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America


By Jonathan Alderfer

National Geographic

Copyright © 2011 Jonathan Alderfer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781426207204

The Best Foods to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
 
Seeds, staples of backyard bird feeding, come in a sometimes confusing variety. Yet a few basic types will satisfy a diverse clientele. Other foods may attract different birds.
 
• Sunflower seeds: These come in two kinds. The smaller black-oil sunflower seeds will bring the greatest variety of species, from chickadees and titmice to jays. The larger striped type is better for strong-billed birds such as Purple Finches and Evening Grosbeaks. Even woodpeckers will visit a hopper or tray feeder for sunflower seeds.
 
• Mixed seeds: A birdseed mix should be an important part of any backyard menu, but quality varies greatly. The best mixtures are combinations of black-oil sunflower, white proso millet, bits of nuts and corn, and perhaps safflower as well. Avoid the least expensive mixtures, which are filled with the small globes of red milo, which very few birds except doves eat.
 
• Nuts and corn: Almost all seed-eating birds will enjoy unsalted nuts broken into bits with a rolling pin, and larger birds including jays will like cracked corn (although rake it up if it gets wet). Scatter the nuts and corn on the ground and hope that the birds will get their fair share before the squirrels arrive for breakfast.
 
• Suet and peanut butter: These are high-energy winter foods loved by many species. See page 23 for tips on how to provide them. Suet is favored especially by woodpeckers. Peanut butter is a source of crucial energy for birds in winter, and it can be lifesaving for Carolina Wrens at the northern end of their range in a harsh season.
 
• Fruits: Oranges cut in half or apples and other fruits cut in pieces are favorites of orioles, especially when they return in the spring to breed. Berries are a favored winter food for thrushes, Cedar Waxwings, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, but these are best provided by landscaping with shrubs that will be loaded with berries during fall and winter.
 
 • Specialties: Experiment with other types of foods such as mealworms, which parents feed to nestlings; crushed oyster shell, a source of calcium; or stone grit, which various birds require to crush foods in their gizzard. Avoid using old bread.
 
• Hummingbird food: Nothing beats the classic, simple recipe of one part white granulated sugar to four parts water. Boil the water, then add the sugar and stir. Don’t use food coloring or artificial sweetener.

Continues...

Excerpted from National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America by Jonathan Alderfer Copyright © 2011 by Jonathan Alderfer. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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