Bird watchers of all skills levels need the best resources. A comprehensive field guide is a must-have addition to any birder’s toolbox.
The choices can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of the best birding books on the market.
1. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
With every bird species in North America included, this guide from National Geographic is a best-seller for good reason.
The guide includes species maps and extensive migration information, and the illustrations include text with pertinent features.
Many birders note this as the one field guide to buy, due to its quick reference guides. Pick up the latest edition for the most up-to-date information.
2. The Sibley Guide to Birds
Easy to navigate with its clear, simple text and beautiful illustrations, this field guide favorite is a popular pick among seasoned bird watchers.
The elegantly designed book is well organized, and includes rare and new birds. Sibley guides also tend to be slightly smaller and less cumbersome than others.
When purchasing the Sibley Guide to Birds, be sure to pick up the newest edition, as the book has improved greatly since it was initially published.
3. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America
According to Peterson, this guide has been dubbed the best invention since binoculars.
The guide features drawings and photographs in both color and black-and-white, and users are able to quickly navigate the pages and compare similar species.
Best of all, the guide is portable, so it’s perfect for toting on prolonged outings.
Peterson also includes thumbnail maps alongside descriptions of each bird. The included maps are large and offer plenty of detail. If font size is a concern, Peterson’s guide has larger print than most other options.
This guide is regularly updated, so look for the latest edition. The latest version includes over 500 species and 512 maps.
4. Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America
This comprehensive guide is a wonderful resource for first-time birders and experienced hobbyists alike. It allows for quick identification, and its portable, compact size makes it perfect in the field.
Unlike other field guides, Kaufman has organized the book by bird family groupings. Users appreciate the color-coded tabs for easy reference. Fans rave over the guide’s conversational tone and convenient layout.
The above guides are ideal for spotting just about any species. We have one more recommendation that is warbler specific, and praised time and time again by seasoned birders:
5. The Warbler Guide
While this popular guide is just for warblers, we love the layout, information, and basically everything the authors included from cover to cover.
Warblers are difficult to identify because they are always on the move. There are 56 warbler species in the United States and Canada, and this guide covers all of them.
The Warbler Guide includes more than 1,000 vivid photographs. Whether you spot a perched or flying warbler, the book contains images of the birds perching and in-flight.
Birders are easily able to identify species based on silhouette, tail pattern, and color. There are also sonograms and descriptions of songs, and the book even explains how to use and understand them.
Whether you’re a birding beginner or you have been enjoying the hobby for years, it’s important to have an up-to-date field guide on hand to identify your sightings.
Browse a variety of guides and take note of our recommendations. With so many options on the market, you’re bound to find a bird watching field guide you’ll love.