Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America (Kenn Kaufman Focus Guides) Vinyl Bound – 14 Apr 2005
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About the Author
KENN KAUFMAN, originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, is one of the world's foremost naturalists.
Rick Bowers is a wildlife photographer, naturalist and writer. His credits include Birders World Magazine, National Geographic, and the book, KAUFMAN FOCUS GUIDES: MAMMALS OF NORTH AMERICA.
Naturalists and photographers Nora Bowers and Rick Bowers have studied and photographed wildlife throughout North America. Their work has been featured in many books and magazines, and they were the principal photographers for the two previous Kaufman Focus Guides, to birds and butterflies.
Lynn Hassler is the author of several birding books, including "Gambel's Quail, Birds of the American Southwest, Hummingbirds of the American West", and "Roadrunners", as well as a co-author of "Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America". She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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".
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.
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.