Reviews

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America

Author: Roger Tory Peterson with other contributors

Edition: 7th

Number of pages: 376
Year published: 2020
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-328-77143-8

About Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America

The name Roger Tory Peterson is synonymous with birdwatching in North America. He was a pioneer in the publication of practical field guides to birds and other animals. Although he passed away in 1996 his works continue to be revised and published. I think that the contributing authors and publishers have done a good job of presenting an up-to-date version of this field guide while maintaining the original Peterson look.

This field guide covers all species that may be found from a line that bisects North America eastwards to the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is not “pocket-sized” this guide is compact and fairly light making it a convenient size to take into the field.

The book starts with some general information explaining how to identify birds which is followed by the species descriptions and plates. At the back of the book there is a nicely formatted section to mark off your sightings followed by the index.

What I like

I really think that a good job has been done in the production of this field guide. The pages are bright white, and the paintings stand out nicely. The text is comprehensive and is printed in a decent size font making them very legible. The text pages are opposite the illustrations and are colour-coded at the bottom. The illustrations are generally very good and feature the Roger Tory Peterson method of marking important identification characteristics.

A few things that I don’t like

There are two things that I feel detract from the overall quality of this publication. Firstly, the distribution maps are minute and are multi-coloured making them difficult to analyse. Secondly, some of the plates are overcrowded and, at first glance, it is not always easy to match an illustration to a species name.

Summary of my review

The fact that this is the seventh edition of this field guide says it all. There are numerous titles that compete with it but this one continues to be a favourite. It is a compact, yet comprehensive, guide that is well illustrated and will prove very useful to any birder visiting the eastern or central areas of the USA.

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