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It is not what I was hoping for. It has a great many birds listed, but many are very seldom seen in the USA. Some are listed as "last reported in 1974" and similar, what the crap! It was once blown in by a hurricane! And, many listed are only seen in the tip end of the islands off Alaska, as wayward birds only blown over there from Russia during a storm. Give me a break. Way to much filler material. I was also hoping for a lot more information concerning specific details about habits or life style stuff, of the birds too. But very little is given for each bird. It does provide very good description of the birds though. Look at the actual size of the book before ordering. It is a small book.
I really liked it but I encountered some problems with the inconsistency of the quality of the artwork. For example, compare the illustration of the Great Crested Flycatcher with the Indigo Bunting. Some artists that made the illustrations in the book seem to be much more skilled than others. Also, the quality of the printing is not optimal. Images tend to be darker than they appear in the field. For example, the Prothonotary Warbler does not appear as dark in the field (even in the shadow) as it is painted in this guide. The text and the maps are extraordinary.
This is a very nicely done book. The pictures are beautiful. It's just a little scholarly for what we wanted. We're watching birds & enjoying them coming to the feeders not writing a college paper on them. Sorry.
Using for reference. Recently and very large hawk looking bird perched on the electric lines I tried to find it in the book. The picture were not that defined. Finally looked it up on net and found it was a Prarie Falcon. To me the wing span looked about 30" but according to the net it can be as large as 40". The mocky birds started hissing and going crazy then I saw small wrens liding in the large bushes and making all sorts of noises and huggled together. Me loking in only inches away didn't frighten them on bit. Came back outside the Falcon seemed gone but the mocking birds were still loudly hissing. Finally saw the Falcon preening in the tree. An exciting moment for me.
If you want a really good bird guide this isn't the one to get.
I've been using the National Geographic Field Guide over several prior editions. Unfortunately, this one not only is too think to have spiral bound, but the copy and photos seem to run right to the inner edge of the pages. I also miss the little box next to the species name in the index which was a convenient method to keep track of my identified birds. In fact I did not pack it to take on a just-completed birding tour to southwest Texas partly because of the increased weight. While I will use this guide, I'd like to divide it, but that may not be a practical solution. Frankly, it is not a user friendly guide and is not really something you would feel comfortable carrying on a birding trek.
I wish it would have been more complete and covered the different species more thoroughly. I guess that I needed a field guide for more advanced bird watching. But for somebody new to he activity it is OK...