Top positive review
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This sets a new standard for birdwatching fieldguides.
on 12 November 2000
David Sibley's new field guide to the birds of North America renders all the existing guides obsolete at one stroke. The book itself is beautifully produced and crafted - the sort of book that gives pleasure just in the handling of it. In this single volume, he not only covers all the species likely to be seen in the whole of North America, but more importantly, he illustrates all the plumage variations for each species resulting from differences in age and sex and time of year. He also neatly incorporates pointers to the particular features of each bird that distinguish it, and introduces each family of birds with an illustrated page of its members, a summary of their habits, and what makes them different. The quality of the paintings is astonishing, and his achievement in producing all this artwork single-handed is amazing. This is very much a field and therefore an identification guide, and if you seek detailed factual information on brood sizes, moult sequences,food items, etc, then you will need to look elsewhere. As a field guide it has everything you need on the same page for each bird, including distribution maps, notes on calls and song, in addition to the most comprehensive set of pictures of plumage. He puts into one volume what Peterson divides between two, and the number and quality of his illustrations far surpass those in the National Geographic guide. It sets a new standard for birding field guides, which none of the guides to European birds can yet approach either - this is an absolute must for any birdwatcher who has the slightest interest in North American birds.