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3 Recommended Birding Field Guides You Should Have For Your Next Trip

3 Recommended Birding Field Guides You Should Have For Your Next Trip

It’s nothing less than a fact to say birding guides are vital gears for every birder, beginner or otherwise. The advantages of having one are rather numerous. They provide you with information about:

  • Different species of birds you are likely to come across in a geographic location
  • How they look like
  • Fun facts about these birds

Being so important, however, the market is flooded with different birding guides, some of which are more preferable than others. It can be a bit of a hassle trying to sort through the multitude of those available in a bid to find the really exceptional ones. That is where we come in!

In this article, we would be providing you with a list of the top 3 birding field guides out there and why you should get them.

The Birdtitude Top 3 Recommended Birding Guide

1.    National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America

Birding Field Guides, Birdtitude, Bird

  • Price: $29.99 (7th Edition)
  • Region: North America
  • Illustrations/Pictures: Yes
  • Maps: Yes
  • Taxonomy: Yes
  • Pages: 592
  • Number of Species: About 1,000

Let’s face it, from the very moment you say the words National Geographic, you probably already concluded that this birding guide would definitely hold a top spot in the birding community. This assumption is in no way false.

Possibly the best birding guide you can find anywhere in the world, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is nothing if not thorough and extensive.

Providing extensive information about close to 1000 species of birds within and around the North American borders (with the 7th edition covering a total of 1,023 species!), this guide is basically an encyclopedia the birds of North America ─ containing both their general and scientific names, illustrations showing what they look like, and everything else you would need to know about them.

Perfect for beginners and advanced birders alike, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is both detailed and concise, providing thorough and accurate information about each of the bird species while still keeping the information as clear and concise as possible, making for an informative yet fun read.

The birding guide also makes use of a vast amount of bird illustrations, providing a physical means of identifying both genders of each bird and also their youngsters. Add to that the several field within the guide, and you have a birding guide filled with every single thing you need for your next birding field expedition.

Why We Like This Guide

While many guides can provide the names and images of various species of birds, and also provide some information about them, very few can boast the amount of species provided by the National Geographic, nor the quality of details and insight contained in each page.

Others By The Author(s)                        

2. The Sibley Guide To Birds

Birding Field Guides, Birdtitude, Bird

 

  • Price: $40 (2nd Edition)
  • Region: North America
  • Illustrations/Pictures: Yes
  • Maps: Yes
  • Taxonomy: Yes
  • Pages: 624
  • Number of Species: 810

Check out any top birding guides list in the world and you can bet ten out of ten times that at least one Sibley guide would be that Chances are you would never lose such a bet.

The Sibley Guide to Birds is yet another highly referenced birding guide in the community. This birding guide is so popular that hardly could you find any experienced birder who hasn’t used the book at one point or the other. This birding guide is so influential in fact, it is believed to have been the progenitor of so many birding guides that came after it.

With the first edition released in 2000, this birding guide the stage for what modern birding guides should look like, going into detail on how information in birding guides should be presented and laid out. This detailed and organized structure is one of the many things birders love about this birding guide.

Adding to this already impressive record, the Second Edition of this guide ─ which is essentially an entirely new book ─ adds even more species to the already impressive collection, revises the old information to every element of the first edition and also makes alterations to include changes made over the years since the first edition’s creation.

The guide boasts several hundred species of birds with their illustrations all arranged in an ordered manner that allows for comparing and contrasting of each one. The illustrations of the birds in this guide are yet another reason the guide is so loved, with each of the species designed in flight from above and below, and with every significant plumage variation being made obvious in each illustration. Add to this the abundance of information about each species provided in each illustration, and you have a birding guide like no other.

Why We Like This Guide

The genius of Sibley Bird Guides is referenced by birders all over the world. From the brilliant illustrations ─ which emphasizes on the peculiarities of each species, making them easier to identify, to the ingenious sectioning of each bird species ─ which makes the comparison and contrast of birds easier, this guide is one that makes going through the several species of birds as easy as picking one of these bird themed beddings.

Others By The Author(s)

3. Peterson First Guide To Birds Of North America

  • Price: $7.95 (2nd Edition)
  • Region: North America
  • Illustrations/Pictures: Yes (Illustrations)
  • Maps: No
  • Taxonomy: Yes
  • Pages: 128
  • Number of Species:188

If you are a birdwatcher of with some experience in the field, you’d have undoubtedly come across one of the Peterson Guides or the other during your birding expeditions. And why wouldn’t they be? With the great amount of detail placed into the illustration of birds in every Peterson Guide and the wealth of information on the birds contained within them, these guides are definitely good enough to be compared with other great guides like the National Geographic and Sibley Bird Guides.

For this fact alone, basically any of the Peterson Bird Guides is worthy of being on this list. But that is not the only reason this specific guide is sitting on our list of top 3 birding guides. So what makes this guide special? The answer is quite simple: This has to be the most concise birding in existence.

Where most birding guides are more than 500 pages long, the Peterson First Guide To Birds Of North America provides a guide barely over 120 pages, offering birders all the need-to-knows about the birds of North America in the most concise birding you can find.

This simplicity and conciseness what makes this guide even more loved by birders worldwide, especially beginners, as it provides them with all the necessary details contained in the famous Peterson Field Guides while still remaining fun and easy to read.

Why We Like This Guide

While the Peterson First Guide might seem rather less fascinating than the more detailed Peterson Field Guides, having no region maps, fewer species, and less detail - this conciseness is in fact what makes us love this version even more! Give a beginner the choice between this guide and another of the top guides on this list, and 9 times out of ten, chances are he or she wouldn’t think twice before going for this much smaller birding guide (we know we wouldn’t!)

Others By The Author(s)

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other birding guides you love personally and think are worth mentioning? Let us know in the comment section below.

Are you a birdwatching beginner and want to know more about birding and what it takes to get started? The Birdtitude community is here for you. Check out our on the top birding gears and gadgets you would need to get started on your birdwatching journey and the top birds every birder must see.


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