Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America Vinyl Bound – Apr 14 2005
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World-renowned birder Kenn Kaufman addresses a long-running paradox of bird field guides with his Focus Guide. While beginning birdwatchers prefer photographic guides like those by Donald Stokes, the physical traits that make identification easier are more readily discerned in the idealized paintings of illustrative guides like those by Roger Tory Peterson and National Geographic. Kaufman's groundbreaking work combines the best of both approaches by digitally enhancing photographic images to show the characteristics that are sometimes not apparent in photographs.
Some other distinguishing features include:
- The guide is organized by bird family groupings rather than strict taxonomic classification; this is a feature that will appeal especially to beginners.
- Text descriptions and range maps for each species appear on the page facing the plate of respective bird images.
- Important field marks are highlighted.
- Color-coded tabs identify each grouping of birds (waders, warblers, sparrows, etc.) for quick thumb indexing.
From Publishers Weekly
Every spring, tens of thousands of bird-watchers migrate across the country in search of vireos, towhees, and violet-crowned hummingbirds; these birders can be recognized by their binoculars, their respect for nature and their frequent stillness and near-silence. By next spring, many of them will be toting this guide. Author and illustrator Kaufman (Lives of North American Birds) has long been one of the birdwatching community's stars. His colorful, practical and very portable book aims to become the new standard in the field. The book is small enough for a big jacket pocket, and can be held in one hand; color-coded tags divide its 16 sections on 16 classes of birds ("Ducks, Geese, Swans," "Chicken-Like Birds," "Medium-Sized Land Birds," "Flycatchers," etc.). Each left-hand page describes three to six related birds, with range maps for each, color-coded for season and frequency; brief phrases give most species' song, voice or call-note. The corresponding right-hand page offers bright, high-resolution color pictures of the same birds, on a perch or in flight. Short inserts help explain, for example, how to distinguish among many similar sparrows. Kaufman's guide is revolutionary in that it's the first to use digitally altered photographs (more than 2,000 of them) rather than unretouched photos or paintings - in practice the computerized images look like extremely detailed paintings. Though he pays more attention to common birds, Kaufman is happy to cover rare visitors and migrants: here are a brace of robins, but also bluethroat (restricted to northwest Alaska, and "hard to see when not singing"), and 16 kinds of (introduced) parrots. The guide may not be the most comprehensive available, and its laconic descriptions deliberately avoid facts that won't assist identification. But Kaufman makes up for those limits with compactness, great design and ease of use - especially for beginners: an appendix leads new birders to further resources (some of them online). Major ad/promo; 22-city author tour. (Sept. 22)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
After saying all that,and it would be easy to go on comparing these guides,in the final analiyis ,you can't go too far wrong.If you or the person you are buying the book for takes birding serious you'll probably buy all the guides mentioned before too long.There are good points going for all of them.
It is of a size small enough to be easily carried into the field, unlike my favorite book, the Sibley guide, and the different page background colors are convenient for flipping quickly to the right section. There are short sections in the front of the book on "how to bird," "where to bird," and "what to look for," along with a few other blurbs, but all of this covers only nine pages total. Further, the text accompanying each bird is very short, one small paragraph.
Still, it's readily apparent that a *lot* of work went into this guide, and I'm really impressed with it. While I personally believe that it's not something a novice birder would likely find really useful, like the National Geographic Society's book, intermediate and advanced birders will likely find it easy to use for quick reference about a field marking or species differentiation. Conveniently, he covers all of the birds of North America, thereby obviating the need to purchase one book for the East, one for the West, and so forth.
My best advice is to get your hands on a copy of this book before purchasing it if you're not certain you'll like it - birding guides can be a highly-personal thing, and you may find that this review is just totally buggered! I'm still glad I own this book, and occasionally take it out into the field instead of my preferred NGS, just for the sake of variety.
Most recent customer reviews
Easy to find birds. Well made and laid out. Ordered one for my friend in Ontario.Would recommend it. Easy to carry.Published on Jan. 17 2013 by Couver
As newbies to birding we find this field guide a useful complement to a few other guides we have that are region specific. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2012 by HenryG
We have a shelf full of bird guides in our house, but this is the book we grab first, and 99% of the time, the only one that is needed. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2010 by Stanley Lui
I grew up with an aunt who loved Birding. When I was a child she gave me a Golden Books Guide. I havent birded since and decided to buy a new book and compare the two.. Read morePublished on June 29 2004 by shaun king
i own several bird guides and this is by far my very favorite. i love having the maps with the descriptions. Read morePublished on July 5 2003 by robin edmundson
I've owned and enjoyed numerous field guides through my 50+ years of life: Peterson, Golden, National Geographic Society, Audubon, Sibley and Kaufman. Read morePublished on June 24 2003 by Larry Korkowski
I bought this book a year ago so I could identify the birds coming to my backyard feeder, and I still keep it by my sofa. Read morePublished on June 4 2002