Essential, comprehensive, and easy to use, National Geographic Complete Book of Birds is an astonishing resource that covers every bird species in North America, as well as all the migrants that fly through. The entries are organized by family groups-an incredible 82 are included-according to the American Ornithological Union guidelines. Within a family, each separate bird entry has dozens of tips and illustrations on species' genders, age groups, behavior, habitats, nesting and feeding habits, and migration routes. Readers will also find unique features, such as:
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Jonathan Alderfer, a widely published author and field guide illustrator, is well known in the birding community for his expertise as a field ornithologist and his knowledge of North American birds. He has served as a general consultant and an art consultant for the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (4th edition) and is the Associate Editor of Birding, the magazine of the American Birding Association.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Birders rejoice! National Geographic has come through once again with a volume that libraries and bird enthusiasts will welcome to their shelves. Ornithologist and illustrator Alderfer is the general editor of this fine resource that, as he acknowledges, is too large to be a field guide, although many may throw it in their bags while birding. Described as a "companion to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America," the book pulls together a remarkable amount of information into what can only be described as one of the finest one-volume reference works ever published on North American birds.
The organization will be familiar to bird aficionados everywhere. Each of the 82 avian families is treated in an individual section that begins with a brief essay covering the special characteristics of the family in terms of structure, behavior, plumage, distribution, taxonomy, and conservation. Each genus is then taken in turn; 962 species in total are described. Species entries include outstanding illustrations of each distinctive phase, gender, variant, and subspecies where such illustrations will provide assistance in identification. Clear and updated distribution maps are included. Occasional sidebars offer information on differentiating similar species and subspecies as well as other interesting details about a particular bird or group of birds. Directly aimed at helping birders, the text for each species pays special attention to distinctive characteristics and offers helpful advice for identification. Comprehensiveness is excellent, and there is no reason to doubt the editor's claim that the book includes every resident and established variant through September 2005.
Alderfer and National Geographic have produced a volume that, though certainly not as comprehensive as Cornell University's Birds of North America [http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA], rivals and often surpasses the Audubon Society's Sibley Guide to Birds (Knopf, 2000). Enthusiastically recommended for most types of libraries and collections. Jeff Kosokoff
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