My Bird Library…the pros and cons

Some people might be interested in the reference books I use. I have a few, all I love for different reasons. Of course a some have their drawbacks also. Here they are:

1. National Geographic Complete Birds of North America
Pros – this book has everything! A wealth of bird information. 960 species to read about. It has very nice art/draws for identification and also many photos.
Cons – this book is huge. Not a field guide. A hard cover that weighs over 4lbs. Also so species do not have a range map. Most of these are not in my region but I still love to look at the maps. For instance the Red-whiskered Bulbul. It gives a description of the birds population in FL and CA but that’s it.

2. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America
Pros – this book is a complete field guide for all of North America. The cover is waterproof. It contains around 750 species. This guide only has photos. It does show the breeding and non-breeding colors for a lot of birds along with the male/female differences when they apply. I like it as a cross reference and just to ‘see’ real live photos of birds. Has maps for every bird, including the Red-whiskered Bulbul.
Cons – It is thicker/heavier than other field guides (because it is all of North America). There are birds that are not listed here that are in my other books. Photos alone can make it more difficult to determine the bird you are looking at.

3. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
Pros – Compact! Excellent drawings/art also show birds in flight as well as perched. I can’t say enough about how great the art is. Contains 650 species for the Eastern region. This is the guide most birders love best, the Sibley series of guides.
Cons – It contains only the Eastern part of North America so if you travel the country you will need multiple guides. Doesn’t contain as much information about the birds as the National Geographic Complete Birds of North America. Smaller descriptions but hey it’s a guide for carrying with you. When I get home I read more in my larger 4lb book.

4. Attracting Birds to Your Backyard
Pros – I love this book! It is full of wonderful ideas to attract birds to your yard and feeders. What kind of plants and shrubs to plant. Yummy homemade bird treats. How to make bird houses and feeders. I’ve read it and re-read it many times while looking out over my yard and day dreaming.
Cons – The set-up is a little funny and took some reading to get used to. It is in alphabetical order by topic. So it goes from ‘Acorns’ to ‘Annuals’ and from ‘Baby Birds’ to ‘Banding’ to ‘Bayberries’.

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