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Natl Geo's "Complete Birds of NA"

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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 20:30   #1
Katy Penland
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Natl Geo's "Complete Birds of NA"

What's the buzz on this book, anybody know? I just got a mailer from NG about its availability, which also says it's only available (for now, anyway) via mail order. 950 species covered in 704 pages, hardbound, intended as a companion reference to the field guide. Edited by Jonathan Alderfer, it comes in two different editions, one with a padded cover ("deluxe") that costs $15 more than the "regular exclusive edition", which is going for $40. Would love to know if anyone's bought this yet or heard anything about how good it is.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 20:45   #2
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I have the NG Reference Atlas to the Birds of North America, the mailer made it look a great deal like it. However, I think it's much newer. I also have the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior and I use it much more along with The Birders Handbook (this one I like a great deal) which I think it must have a lot of the same info as well. Another book with similar (aimed more at ID's) is Kenn Kaufman's Advanced Birding. I decided to pass it up, I don't need it as a coffee table book. If you have or get additional info and decide to get it, I would appreciate a comparison and your opinion.


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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 20:49   #3
Rick Wright, Tucson
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New Nat Geo

I haven't seen it, but am eagerly awaiting my copy: it promises to be the book of the year, with detailed species accounts by North America's best birders. As I understand it, it promises to be something between Beaman and Madge and the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior.
By no means a coffee table book--and it is available (or will be) from the usual sources, not just by mail-order from NGS.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 08:06   #4
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Thanks Rick and Jaeger. I notice that the NGS version is 60 pages longer than those being offered (via pre-order) from, e.g., Amazon. Wonder what the difference is? BTW, I've ordered the NGS edition, but not with the padded covers. It'll get too much use for that.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2005, 17:24   #5
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Hope people don't mind if I revive this thread.

Katy, did you get the book? What do you think? My local bookstore has several copies, so I looked through one of them. Obviously it was for only a few minutes so I can hardly offer an "in-depth" review, but frankly I was disappointed with what I saw. There didn't seem to be much more than in a standard field guide: identification, similar species, distribution, presumably with a bit more detail than usual. I wish there were more on habits and life history. Long descriptions of plumages are pretty deadly to read, I find. This is a general complaint I have about bird guides; they're not as enjoyable to read as they could be. I grew up with the Golden Guide, which I feel is an exception: the text, while concise, is very readable. I learned a lot about birds just thumbing through that guide in my home.

I'll probably still get the new National Geographic guide, since I'm a sucker for bird books, but my initial impression was one of disappointment.
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2005, 00:10   #6
Rick Wright, Tucson
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NatGeo Complete

For those who keep up with such things, it is worth noting that the new NatGeo Complete is now THE up-to-date reference for vagrancy throughout North America. I have been impressed to find records from spring and summer 2005 listed in the species accounts.
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2005, 03:40   #7
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Thanks for this, Rick, as it reminded me I never did receive it and now I'm wondering if it got lost in the mail! Hmmmmm, off to investigate......
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2005, 18:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katy Penland
What's the buzz on this book, anybody know? I just got a mailer from NG about its availability, which also says it's only available (for now, anyway) via mail order. 950 species covered in 704 pages, hardbound, intended as a companion reference to the field guide. Edited by Jonathan Alderfer, it comes in two different editions, one with a padded cover ("deluxe") that costs $15 more than the "regular exclusive edition", which is going for $40. Would love to know if anyone's bought this yet or heard anything about how good it is.
I also got this mailer ... seemed like a good deal. Sent it in, ordering the cheaper version(higher in Canada than the U.S.)... notice said it would take about 3-4 weeks to deliver ... that was about two months ago.

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Old Thursday 22nd December 2005, 19:00   #9
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In spite of what I said when I replied to Katy's initial message, I found it on buy.com for $20 and change on a day when they had free shipping, I ordered it, 3 days later it came in via UPS. It's a really nice oversized field guide with more text, bigger pix, some extra information. I still like the reference guide better plus Birders Handbook is all I mentioned in my original post. I'm not sorry I bought it because one of my vices is buying every guide book and reference that comes off the press. I don't think National Geographic's web site is the place to order it though. I just ordered a laminated World Map for one of my sons Christmas present and without even trying, they screwed the order up.

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