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Kaufman Focus Guides: Birds of North America [Paperback]

Kenn Kaufman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade) (Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395964644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395964644
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 11.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,321,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Collects photographs, range maps, and descriptive entries identifying the markings, habits, habitat, and voice of each species.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
You don't have to learn a lot of jargon to identify birds. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The handiest field guide to North American birds 18 April 2006
According to the author, Kaufman Guides are "the best and fastest way to get started... to send you outside quickly, putting names on what you find". If that is the objective, the "Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America" has realised it admirably.

Aimed at the beginner rather than the expert, the facing-page format allows illustrations, text, and range map for each bird to be viewed simultaneously, at one opening of the book. That is a major advantage over, say, the Peterson Field Guide series. As for the illustrations, Kaufman opts for digitally enhanced photographs over paintings, the idea being to combine the strengths of a real, photographic representation with the flexibility of a painting. There are more than 2,000 depictions of birds in natural conditions, all of them processed digital images based on photographs. Range maps show where each species is common or rare and indicate migratory status.

A further advantage over most other North American bird guides is the inclusion of all the regularly occurring birds, so you do not need to purchase separate field guides for the East and West.

For anyone with a casual to enthusiastic interest in birds, this is the field guide to get. It will enable you to "search and locate" fairly easily. Even the experienced birder may find him / herself carrying this handy little guide and leaving the heavier tomes (Sibley) in the car.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  131 reviews
216 of 220 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The One We've Been Waiting For! 14 Sep 2000
By Edward S. Stonick - Published on Amazon.com
Attention, all North American birders. The ultimate field guide has arrived--Ken Kaufman's new Focus Guide to the Birds of North America! Not since Roger Tory Peterson's landmark guides has one book combined all the essential elements a birder needs to quickly and accurately make field identifications.
Previous guides have used either artists' color plates or photographs; each has its pros and cons. But the Kaufman Guide's use of computer-enhanced and edited photographs gives us the best of both worlds and works marvelously, now that the technology makes it possible.
The ranges maps, in addition to providing the usual winter and breeding distribution, distinguish between areas where species are common and rare. They also include migration ranges, which are rarely pictured in other field guides.
Best of all, Mr. Kaufman has put all the essential facts and photos into a compact 384-page paperback that will easily fit in a coat or pants pocket. While no one book can possibly provide everything a birder might want, this one, for its size, gives one the most important info. For birds that are usually seen in flight, like pelagics, raptors and waterfowl, there are additional poses. And for those especially nasty challenges, such as juvenile gulls, fall warblers, and immature sparrows, there are also extra photos.
If you can only afford one bird book or don't care to carry a liibrary everytime you go out in the field, this is the book for you! I've been birding for nearly half a century, and this is now the one I'll take everytime!
116 of 124 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and modern 29 Nov 2000
By Paul Kinnaly - Published on Amazon.com
Field Guides of Birds come in two different forms and each has its supporters. Some folks prefer those showing reality using one or more photographs. Others prefer those based on paintings that can be made to highlight key features. Kaufman's Field Guide attempts to blend the two approaches by using digitally enhanced photos as its basis of identification. And they are among the best photos I've seen for this purpose. But I have to admit that they don't quite do it for me; there is a degree of artificiality to the photos that is unsatisfying. The paintings of Peterson and Sibley are, to my eyes, more useful in helping me understand the key elements of shape, plumage, and other characteristics.
Anyone who is familiar with other Field Guides will also have difficulty with Kaufman's non-standard order of images (e.g., owls and hawks grouped together). It makes finding a given group of birds difficult until or unless you become very familiar with this book.
But there is much that is good as well. The multi-colored range maps, using a variety of scales, clearly impart more information than their counterparts in many other Guides. And the Family introductions are full of useful tidbits that help you understand common characteristics of a group of related birds.
It was certainly Kaufman's misfortune that Sibley's Field Guide was published so close on the heels of his for it makes comparisons inevitable. Viewed by itself, Kaufman's book would be applauded for its innovation and the wealth of information it contains. But when compared to Sibley, it is but a distant second-best. I would consider it a welcome addition to my bookshelf, but not my first choice as either a pocketable Field Guide or a home/car reference book (I'd choose National Geographic and Sibley, respectively, for those roles). Nice to have, but not a "must-have".
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird Guru Kaufman helps beginners 4 Jan 2001
By Martin Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
That amazing guru Kenn Kaufman has finally finished his all new birding field guide "Birds of North America" using touched up photographs and "pointers"(similar to Peterson) I think this guide will catch on and be loved by amature and beginner birders.
I think the maps are very good and the many colors used really help the maps.Kenn uses two colors for the each of the seasonal ranges. A darker color indicates the area where the species is common during that season, while a paler color indicates areas where the species while present is less common or rare.
The pictures for me at times can become a little crowded and some of the photos are a little pale, but most of them are much better than any other "photo guide". Some of my Photos and ink smeared in my book, so you may want to double check before purchasing your book. This field guide makes it very simple to look up a bird on the field. The Color Tabs are simple as well as the index in the back. I enjoyed the vocal I.D. for each bird but that is a very personal taste.
Each I.D. also adds a little something I miss in a lot of field guides, for example: "A hyperactive midget, common in winter in woods and thickets of south. Harder in summer, when often high in tall conifers. Flicks wings open and shut especially when excited." Golden-Crowned Kinglet
In closing I must say this is one of the easier field guide to birds to use and is a warm welcome to the birding community.
Martin Phillips
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide for beginners 11 Jan 2001
By J. Hargrove - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent guide, especially for beginners. Expert birders may prefer the encyclopedic guide by David Sibley, another excellent piece of work. This guide has a number of advantages as a guide:
It easily fits into your pocket It has a handy thumb index, once you get used to it It has a comprehensive index inside the back cover The photos are superb, and the color matches better than any other guide I know.
I highly recommend this guide.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Organized Field Guide Ever 10 Dec 2000
By Florida mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have tried carrying a variety of field guides over the past 20 years, but I always returned to the Golden guide because of the maps and organization. That is, until the Kenn Kaufman book arrived. This guide is perfect when you're in the field and your in a hurry. The most helpful page is the very last one, which is a summarized index. I love this guide, and I'm buying it for all my non-birding friends who are always asking me to id birds at their feeders. Anyone at any level of birding will love this!
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