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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
This new Smithsonian field guide, written by Birding magazine editor Floyd, is ideal for beginners, but also has formidable resources for experienced birders. What gives this guide the most value is the included CD-ROM, with 587 songs and calls (for 138 bird species) in mp3 format. Not only are they an immense improvement on written descriptions (frequently incomprehensible), they're field-ready-just download them onto your favorite mp3 player. The text is generally thorough, but the focus is on images; each bird's entry is accompanied by at least two photographs and often more, showing specimens in flight, variations in coloring, and differences among males, females and juveniles. Compared with similar guides from National Geographic, Floyd's has considerably less textual description, helpful in identifying rarer birds and hybrids, but the strikingly crisp photography compensates. Appropriate for even elementary-age readers, the book's excellent range maps are very clear, and the introduction to each group is readable and highly informative. Clean design, sharp (not heavy) print and moisture-resistant materials make it perfect for field use. Birders of any experience level will be happy with this volume on their bookshelf.
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