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Birds of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)

by Kenn Kaufman

ISBN 0395964644 / 9780395964644 / 0-395-96464-4
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

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.
Kaufman's efforts follow the auspicious tradition of Roger Tory Peterson, whose portable field guide system was the first of its kind to meet the needs of the average birdwatcher. "It's the guide I've always wanted," says Kaufman, "and I suspect most birders will feel the same way." [via]