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Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America [Paperback]

Roger Tory Peterson , Lee Allen Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 33.00
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Book Description

Aug. 28 2008 Peterson Field Guides
In celebration of the centennial of Roger Tory Peterson’s birth comes a historic collaboration among renowned birding experts and artists to preserve and enhance the Peterson legacy. This new book combines the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds and Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds into one volume, filled with accessible, concise information and including almost three hours of video podcasts to make bird watching even easier.

• 40 new paintings

• Digital updates to Peterson’s original paintings, reflecting the latest knowledge of bird identification

• All new maps for the most up-to-date range information available

• Text rewritten to cover the U.S. and Canada in one guide

• Larger trim size accommodates range maps on every spread

• Contributors include: Michael DiGiorgio, Jeff Gordon, Paul Lehman, Michael O’Brien, Larry Rosche, and Bill Thompson III

• Includes URL to register for access to video podcasts

Frequently Bought Together

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America + Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America: Fourth Edition + Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks: Third Edition
Price For All Three: CDN$ 53.25

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  • In stock on April 22, 2014.
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  • Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America: Fourth Edition CDN$ 16.30

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    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details

  • Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks: Third Edition CDN$ 16.26

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Product Description


"I'm happy to report, the Peterson guide is back, and in a big way." - Birders World

"This new field guide should solidify Peterson's already monumental place in the history of birding." Cleveland Plain Dealer

"This book is a classic with updated information." - Birding Business

About the Author

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Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peterson Field Guide is the best Oct. 5 2009
By Pandita
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I own several field guides, and Peterson's is the best. Roger Tory Peterson just happened to have invented birding ID for the masses, and all other field guides more or less follow his example.
Large, easy to see illustrations, distinguishing bird characteristics are pointed out for you. Multiple tips for ID: bird silhouettes, side view, flying view, motions, etc.
Heavy stock glossy paper, good quality printing.
On the down side, because this book covers all of North America it is pretty heavy to be carrying around with you. Best left at home.
Highly recommended. If you will have just one reference book, then this is a must have. Amazon delivered quickly and at a good price, a pleasure to shop here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of information and lovely illustrations. March 5 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lots of information about birds in my area. Great illustrations and demonstrations of bird anatomy. It is a bit heavy however for a field guide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America June 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like to do nature photography and I shoot a lot of birds. But they use to be just birds now I know what they are and know there habitat and what there called. having looked through the book a number of times I now look for new ones in my area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book packed full of information Jan. 10 2013
Verified Purchase
The great detail in the drawings make this book a wonderful field guide. With it's tough vinyl cover making it splash resistant to it's size for a practical field tool this book is great!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  104 reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Peterson Aug. 18 2008
By Grant McCreary - Published on Amazon.com
This guide is a combination of the previously separate Eastern and Western Peterson guides. The look and feel of this guide will be immediately familiar to any users of past editions, especially the latest Eastern. However, every aspect of the book, even the art, has been enhanced and updated. Here is a brief summary of the changes.

The book's size is the first change that will be noticed. It is now probably too large to carry into the field. However, the increased size means that the plates are less crowded, and the art can be reproduced in a larger size. This allows the art to be better appreciated and studied.

Unless you are extremely familiar with Peterson's art, you won't notice many changes on the plates. But there have in fact been many. The most extensive changes have been in the form of digital enhancements to Peterson's art. These are touch-ups and corrections to make the bird on the page look more like the bird in the field. Thankfully, these enhancements have been artfully done, and do not stand out. In virtually every case they have indeed improved the image of every species that I'm familiar with.

There are also entirely new paintings, contributed by Michael O'Brien. Some, like the Himalayan Snowcock, are new species that have never before been included in a Peterson guide. But some previously included birds have been completely replaced by new paintings. These have been done in Peterson's style and some are very difficult to pick out. However, many are fairly obvious. They are not bad by any means, just different, and that difference can be jarring.

Like the art, the text has also been extensively enhanced and updated. For the most part, this consists of editorial changes such as word usage. But there are some significant changes, such as new field marks.

Likewise, the maps are entirely new. They are done in the same format as the previous Eastern edition, but the data they are based on is up-to-date, and supplied by the foremost expert in North American bird distribution. There is an entire section of large range maps in the back of the guide, and each species account includes a small thumbnail map. The thumbnails are much larger, and infinitely more usable, than those included in the Eastern regional guide.

As with the previous reviewer, I feel that although this is a good field guide, it does not reach the mark set by other recent guides. However, I still recommend it because Peterson's art has never looked better in a field guide. The art here looks a little better than in the latest Eastern edition, due to the increased size. Compared to the Western guide, however, it is a revelation. The same paintings in the Western guide are dull and soft. But here they are vibrant, and you can see more of the fine detail.

As a reference, this guide is superior to the previous Peterson regional guides, yet not quite as good as some other North American guides. But for me, the showcasing of Peterson's art makes up for this, and makes it well worth having.
67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate and presumably conclusive Peterson Bird Guide Aug. 2 2008
By David P. Tietjen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My 5-star rating is based entirely on sentiment for Roger Tory Peterson and what his work means to all nature enthusiasts in the US today. Like countless other birders I grew up with an abiding interest in the avian life around me informed almost entirely by RTP's field guides starting with the 1947 Second Edition (still on my library shelf). This new volume almost certainly will be the last published that reproduces King Penguin's incredible art in field guide format, given that it combines birds from both the Eastern and Western guides for the first time, brings taxonomy up to the most recent level, and finally adopts the most up-to-date species order. But this is the ultimate Peterson, perhaps in the most poignant sense, because this volume celebrates the centennial of Peterson's birth, right down to the date it was to be released (but I still thank Amazon for shipping it a month early). In my humble opinion, anyone and everyone who likes birds even a little bit needs to own this book.

Now I do have a few points to make that are directed at the book's value as a field guide in 2008, and my opinion here is that a rating of 4-stars (or perhaps even 3) is more appropriate. The "trim size" is indeed larger than previous, by about an inch on a side, bringing the height to just one-half inch less than the Sibley Guide (regularly criticized as too large to carry in the field). The art is less crowded for sure, but portability suffers. The paintings are for the most part the exact same as earlier editions, with frequent rearrangements (digitally performed) to account for the East/West combination and taxonomy modifications. New paintings by Michael O'Brien are inserted and are virtually indistinguishable from RTP's own work - a very high compliment to Mr. O'Brien, if you ask me. But quite a few species are no longer illustrated at all - they were previously depicted on plates in the back of either guide labeled "accidentals", "vagrants', or "strays". While these birds are highly unlikely to be seen by the average observer, their inclusion was a sign of thoroughness which is now missing. I had hoped for a major revision in the art of those species shown only by a "head shot", but I am completely disappointed here, as the owls are still mostly missing their beautiful body plumage and gulls and terns still don't stand on pilings or the beach to display their mantles and tails. I haven't yet tried the podcasts, but I'm sure they will be informative, and are certainly a novel inclusion in a field guide.

In conclusion this is a terrific book for one's birding library, but I'm not at all sure that I will be taking the new Peterson to the field with me, as I always did the old ones before the National Geographic Guide came out years ago. Even the more recent photographic guides (National Wildlife Federation last year and Smithsonian this year) are more likely to be carried due to their more compact size. But to be completely honest I have studied the Peterson paintings so often and for so long that the images are permanently recorded in my memory, meaning I really don't need to carry any printed version of them - and what higher praise or better endorsement can I give but that?
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miles to go before I sleep Aug. 26 2008
By Birdman - Published on Amazon.com
I have deep respect for the life and achievements of Roger Tory Peterson. His impact on ornithology, ecology, avian medicine, wildlife art and birdwatching have often been underestimated.

The latest edition of the guide melds East and West and does a great deal to upgrade coverage of Western species through enlarged maps and improved digital renderings.

My problem with the Peterson series has been occasionally inaccurate renderings of some common common species -- the Barred Owl is one example -- which might cause a novice to misidentify an individual in the field.

Many bird enthusiasts purchase and use a variety of field guides because each has its strengths and liabilities. Sibley is the strongest on artistic renderings. Peterson is the best for species differentiation. Smithsonian's excels because of its bird-call DVD. For anyone who wants an all-in-one, National Geographic's Fifth Edition is probably a best bet.

As for the podcast benefits advertised on the cover -- they are continually available to bird-lovers on the net at Roger Tory Peterson Institute's site without a book purchase.

One of te best perks of purchasing this book is a free, one-year membership in The Roger Tory Institute in Jamestown, New York.

I purchased this volume as a tribute to the series and because so many of the renderings of species are excellent. I also appreciate the fact that all maps have been enlarged so that old people like me can see them.

Production values for the book are superb, without question the best field-guide binding available in print. While the paper stock has some annoying opacity, it really doesn't get in the way.

Diurnal raptor fans should look elsewhere -- Brian Wheeler's guides are a good choice. Owl fans should reach for Lynch or Johnsgard.

More than worth the price for its editorial strength and production values.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent update to a classic May 7 2009
By Jessejps - Published on Amazon.com
If you are new to birding and wondering why the nostalgia quotient is so high for this book here is a brief explanation. Roger Tory Peterson is essentially the father of the birding field guide, and arguably birding as we know it today. His first guide was published in the 1930's and for many of us this was the guide we learned from. For myself I was 12 and used it even before I had binoculars from backyard to local pond, to hiking in the local woods. For many years it was the only real guide available. So when I saw it was being revised and updated there was no doubt it would be in my library.
Now nostalgia aside, here is why I reccomend this guide. If you are beginning birding this is an essential resource to learning the hobby. The organization of species and illustrations are the best suited of any guide for anyone not completely familiar with bird families, genera or classifications. The illustrations are specifically designed to teach you to use field marks for identification and similar looking species are compared together. The species desriptions and range maps are detailed and accurate and are now located on the same page as the illustrations. Voice desriptions are helpful and plainly described (who doesn't agree that the Barred Owl says "who-cooks-for you?")
For experienced birders, yes other guides surpass Peterson's in illustration detail and accuracy, but there it's still a very helpful reference and of use for more than just nostalgia. No matter your experience level, the fundamentals of bird identification remain. I know my frame of reference to identification of ducks in flight is still those plates in the Peterson's guide. Peterson's guide is a classic that remains useful, helpful and relevant.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special Sept. 25 2008
By Donald Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In simple terms, as far as I can see, this book is a merger of the Eastern and Western Field Guides, using the same material. Of course no one can argue with the quality of that material. In an attempt to minimize the size, a large number of birds and pictures have been crammed on to each page, and I sometimes find it difficult to to tell which pictures go with which bird, especially birds that I'm not familiar with or which are similar. The dimensions of the book are larger than the field guides, and it seems unnaturally heavy for its size. I use the book as a reference but I won't be carrying it into the field.
I think the Peterson organization needs to come to grips with the fact Roger T. is gone. In order to remain a leader in the field guide business they will need to recruit new artists to provide new or updated pictures for their work. As of now this will be the last Peterson Bird Guide I buy until I see there is something new and different. In the last few years a number of really excellent new guides have appeared that already make Peterson second choice. The biggest plus the current East and West editions have is that they are small, and with this book they have lost that completely. Current versions of the National Geographic guide, the Sibley Guide to Birds and the Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds (Ted Floyd edition) are probably all better bets as an all-around bird reference.
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