Field guide to the birds of North America Essay

Field Guide to the Birds of North America, edited by Shirley L. Scott(National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

, 1983; $13.95), coversnearly the same birds as the Golden guide. But the 464-page guide islarger in format and about 100 pages thicker, making it bulkier to packalong. Illustrations are larger, and the additional text often comparesthe bird under study with similar species. Reproduction quality isbetter here than in the Golden guide. Instead of sonagrams, this field guide uses description andonomatopoeic words to describe songs and calls. This technique isaccurate and probably more useful to most people than sonagrams.

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Forexample, “Northern flicker calls include a rapid wik-wik-wik-wikand wick-er-wick-er-wick-er and a single, loud klee-yer.” Though experienced birders generally consider it the best of thenew field guides, some beginners think it’s too complicated. You can mail-order a copy from the National Geographic Society,Washington, D.C. 20036, for $16.

95 postpaid. If you want a set called”Wonder of Birds,” which includes the guide, a migration map,bird song records, and a general monograph, send $33.70.

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