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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific identification guide!
I've been a birder for many years and began a life list around five years ago. I own many of the standard field guides. Only recently did I obtain the Sibley Guide, but it's become my favorite. I generally use Sibley and Stokes in tandem.
Advantages:
1. Logical layout
2. "Species accounts" pages offer an excellent comparative view within the group, as well...
Published on March 7 2004 by Enhydra Lutris

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you had to have only one birding book, this is not it.
This is a nice book and well worth the money; but if you are looking for the "one" field guide my recommendation is to select the National Geographic Society (NGS) Birds of North America or the Golden Field Guide.
Here is why. Sibley is very large--about 13 sq inches larger the BNA and 18 sq inches large than Golden, too large to fit in any pocket and it is...
Published on April 1 2001 by P. Reese


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific identification guide!, March 7 2004
By 
Enhydra Lutris (Washington State, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
I've been a birder for many years and began a life list around five years ago. I own many of the standard field guides. Only recently did I obtain the Sibley Guide, but it's become my favorite. I generally use Sibley and Stokes in tandem.
Advantages:
1. Logical layout
2. "Species accounts" pages offer an excellent comparative view within the group, as well as a good all-up overview of the families/genus/species, and general behavior.
3. Individual species pages show comprehensive plumage reference art; more detailed than any I've seen. For this feature alone, the guide is worthwhile!
4. Species pages show variants (e.g., Great Blue/Great White Heron), fledgling and/or juvenile patterns. In some cases art of eclipse plumage is a very nice bonus.
5. Flight/wing patterns where relevant
6. Comparison of hummingbird mating display paths
7. Diurnal raptors section shows perched vs. in-flight underside plumage for each species. It also offers silhouette guides to help teach wing shape if plumage is light-obscured.
8. Good geographical reference map (though smaller than ideal*)
9. Good vocal descriptions
10. Nice (what they refer to as) "bird topography" section
11. Where applicable, good information on regional variations and species clines.
Disadvantages:
1. This is not a pocket guide; it's cumbersome. I use Stokes in the field, and use Sibley at home for reference afterward.
2. The binding on my copy isn't sturdy, particularly for something that's supposedly a field guide. I feel like I must treat the glue binding gingerly or the pages might start to fall out.
3. Not enough text re: birding ethics & conservation (but that might just be my inner tree-hugger appearing) :)
4. *Geographical range map is small. I imagine it'd be difficult for some people to see clearly.
5. Migratory geographical information only covers North America. I'd like reference for migratory species (even just within text) of migration route start/finish and total annual distance. (Aside: the artic tern has the longest distance migration [Arctic to Antarctic] and can cover 22k - 30k mpy.)
Overall, this a great reference, and I recommend it highly.
However, to Knopf publishers/Chanticleer Press: Please ask Dai Nippon Printing Co to use better binding glue in the next edition!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it....this blows Peterson out of the water., May 31 2003
By 
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This is the guide. If you ever wanted to identify a juvenile or a female, this guide has pictures for all. The book covers the Western coast to the Eastern coast. There are all different plumages as well. NOTHING compares to this book.
As many people know, there are 2 "faults" to this guide. There is the rather large size, and it is basically just an identification guide; no information about the species life-style. However, there is another book that covers this by Sibley. Both are extremely big books, as they have to cover such a large area, with over 800 species! I use his other book which is very well written, and I highly recommend it!
The problem with size is very easy to overcome. I think that Sibley quickly realized this, and for that reason split his book into two. So, if you live in California you can buy the Western guide, and if you live in New York, you can buy the Eastern guide. This is a wonderful solution so as to not carry more than you will need. I do not use the separate guides though. Even though I own at least 4 other bird guides, the ONLY one I carry in the field with me (AT ALL TIMES) is Sibley's. The inconvenience in size/weight is worth the find of a female or juvenile bird that I could not otherwise identify.
For new birders, I strongly recommend pictures and NOT PHOTOS. Photos represent ONE bird (leaving out the idea of natural variation), and not the bird species as a whole. Also, Sibley covers hybrids and rare plumages as well. He also indicates that you should be aware of leucism, albinism, and melanistic birds.
Other important features covered include, song/call descriptions, easy to read maps which show summer, winter, year-round, migration routes, and accidental spots. These are the best represented maps I have EVER seen. They are colored not black and white stripes like the Audubon guide... They are rather large, and overall wonderful! The names are up-to-date. (Long-tailed Duck was once known as Oldsquaw) Name changes are indicated in the book. Sizes, weights, and wingspans are also noted, along with the size comparison for males and females. Different seasons are indicated (years for gulls), with notes on important markings for individual birds.
Sibley also notes the taxonomy of the birds, and the "topography" of a bird, with diagrams of all the parts of a bird. There is an excellent map in the back of North America, marking islands and territories/states. Sibley makes birding VERY easy, and enjoyable. There is also a quick index as well as a full index. This is THE guide, you can throw the other ones away.
Personally, I NEVER recommend photo guides, and I myself am not a fan of Peterson's. They just aren't complete or up-to-date. Sibley is THE man and this is THE guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you had to have only one birding book, this is not it., April 1 2001
By 
P. Reese "muncie-birder" (MUNCIE, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This is a nice book and well worth the money; but if you are looking for the "one" field guide my recommendation is to select the National Geographic Society (NGS) Birds of North America or the Golden Field Guide.
Here is why. Sibley is very large--about 13 sq inches larger the BNA and 18 sq inches large than Golden, too large to fit in any pocket and it is "heavy".
The art work is good with many more view than either of the other two books, but the descriptive text is very limited.
Here is an example: Huttons vireo.
There are five pictures in Sibley. Two in NGS and one in Golden. But in my opinion only one of this bird is all that is required. Others may disagree. Sibley has one sentence describing this bird 15 words. NGS has 85 words. Golden, 79 words. All three note that Huttons vireo is similar to the ruby crowned kinglet, but Golden and NGS show you a picture of the kinglet right beside the vireo and explain how to tell them apart. Sibley just says to compare it to the kinglet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book for learning to identify birds., Jan. 17 2014
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This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This book was recommend to us by a long-time birder and it is definitely worth the money. We are enjoying having it in our collection of go-to books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Regretted buying it, Nov. 19 2013
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This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
Regretted buying it.

Not much more info than the Field Guides. Not worth the weight of this volume.

Hope this helps.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SOARS LIKE A FALCON, Dec 15 2000
By 
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This is without a doubt the best book for ornithologists and lay persons interested in birds. The illustrations are nonpareil and the accompanying text is a treasure trove of information. This book is the definitive books about birds to date. It is outstanding.
Sibley speaks to his readers' collective intelligence; his work provides comprehensive material in a very interesting format. He is a master communicator; his readers will readily absorb the information he wishes to impart in this work and will certainly appreciate the illustrations.
Sibley has indeed set new standards, soared across new frontiers in this presentation. This is a book that will not only be studied and remembered, but cherished and treasured.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eggzactly Wrong, Feb. 3 2001
By 
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This is a book about identifying birds. The index does not include the word "egg", nor can any trace of the word be easily discovered....certainly no pictures. I am very disappointed with this monstrous oversight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sibley classic, Jan. 12 2004
By 
MR JIM BARTY (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
A truly magnificent book, which, coupled with its companion volume, the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, provides the definitive text on American birdlife.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great guide that will live on the shelf, Dec 27 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
Too heavy to consider taking into the field. This will have to stay on the shelf to use as a reference. Go with the National Geographic Guide if you plan to go birding.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great but BIG, May 16 2008
This review is from: The Sibley Guide to Birds (Paperback)
This is an excellent book content-wise, but it is definitely not a field guide. I would recommend purchasing the two smaller eastern and western edition guides, since they contain the same information (just split between the 2 regions) and are portable.
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The Sibley Guide to Birds
The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley (Paperback - Oct. 3 2000)
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