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Best bird guides by region...North America (2 Viewers)

There is a new edition of the National Geographic Guide, and a completely new guide that Steve Howell was involved with but which I think has different authors now, but I am blanking on them. However both are years away I think.
That would be Steve Howell, Michael O'Brien, Chris Wood and Brian Sullivan, with illustrations by Ian Lewington and Lorenzo Starnini. Should be a great one!
 
If there is a newer edition of the Nat Geo guide than the 7th (2017) I missed it. And I can't find any reference to a newer guide at (for example) Amazon
I mentioned that they are both years away from being released. It is however being worked on.
 
That would be Steve Howell, Michael O'Brien, Chris Wood and Brian Sullivan, with illustrations by Ian Lewington and Lorenzo Starnini. Should be a great one!
Thanks for clarifying. I am excited about this one, but somehow my mind always blanks on the other folks beyond Howell.
 
Ian Paulson of the Bird Booker Report (THE BIRDBOOKER REPORT) had some updates relevant to NA guides on his facebook page.

First, Ian got ahold of some sample pages for the next edition of the Nat Geo guide, which is being taken over by Ted Floyd. Ian posted the page for Whistling-ducks, which are now moved to the front. The page displayed showed that each species text entry is subdivided into a general intro, followed by Appearance, Vocalizations, and Population sections. Birding codes are now included for each species. The "range" section for each entry is gone, presumably due to redundancy with the range maps. Also included on this page was a general explanation of why Whistling ducks are moved to the front of ducks. Overall the text seems more casual and less concise than the original, which has me somewhat concerned on space issues. Nat Geo is already a beast, and if fewer bird entries are present on each page that will either mean a longer book or perhaps removal of the ultra rare vagrants, which this is the only book to actually include.

Secondly, he reports the upcoming Lewington illustrated Princeton field guide still doesn't have a release date, but that Lewington is "almost done" with the artwork and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Since the guide has been in progress for 15 years I sort of assume the text is already done or mostly done, and the art was holding things up.
 
Ian Paulsen (who often has the inside track on field guides) posted the following information on his facebook page which should be of interest:

"Penguin/Random House has announced the publication date for the newly revised Nat Geo East/West Bird Guides: 4 February 2025. The 8th edition of the whole guide is due out in September 2025. Normally this would have been done in reverse order, but given that Disney now owns Nat Geo Publishing, it must be part of their marketing plan?? Plus from the sample pages I have seen of this new version, it’s been Disneyfied (with apologies to Ted Floyd)! So it’s no longer an advanced bird guide but for upper level beginners/ lower level intermediate birders. I'm disappointed by this because this is the bird guide I lost my "birding virginity" to. The first edition was published in 1983, the year I graduated high school and entered college. I learned so much from this guide and took it everywhere I birded. I became a much more experienced birder because of this guide.
For advanced birders, I'm now recommending that they use the 7th edition of the Nat Geo until the "Princeton Field Guides Birds of North America" comes out. SPEAKING of which, using the latest update I have on that guide, I'm projecting a Spring 2026 publication date for it. That date however is subject to change of course!"

Links:


It bums me out that that this is the direction they are taking Nat Geo...Like Ian this was my first bird field guide, and its still unique in that its the only field to get regularly updated and to completely cover vagrants. I also hate that they are banking on impatient birders to invest in the individual Western and Eastern versions, and then buying the single version later on. Just feels extra greedy.
 
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I don't think it's possible to directly link a specific facebook post (and I don't know if it would be viewable anyway unless you were friends with him).

He's on facebook. It's not rocket science to find him if you want the original post.
 
Nat Geo was my first field guide and I have very much enjoyed the updated editions so this is disappointing news. I must have missed that Disney bought National Geographic Publishing, but it explains a lot seeing as Disney seemingly ruins everything they touch these days.
 
Does anyone have a good recommendation for a Hawaii field guide? I see there is a long overdue update (coming late 2024) of the H Douglas Pratt field guide (Birds of Hawaii and Micronesia), and the Nat Geo guide mentioned above will be 2025. Are the Peterson or Nat geo guides overkill if I am only going to Hawaii, I already have Sibley and others for US. Is there any other guide that you suggest?
 
Does anyone have a good recommendation for a Hawaii field guide? I see there is a long overdue update (coming late 2024) of the H Douglas Pratt field guide (Birds of Hawaii and Micronesia), and the Nat Geo guide mentioned above will be 2025. Are the Peterson or Nat geo guides overkill if I am only going to Hawaii, I already have Sibley and others for US. Is there any other guide that you suggest?
Nat Geo, or at least the version currently in print, doesn't cover Hawaii. The most recent Peterson DOES include Hawaiian birds, although they are sort of thrown in the back I don't think it would really be overkill, but obviously only a small portion of that book is going to be cover Hawaii.
 
Does anyone have a good recommendation for a Hawaii field guide? I see there is a long overdue update (coming late 2024) of the H Douglas Pratt field guide (Birds of Hawaii and Micronesia), and the Nat Geo guide mentioned above will be 2025. Are the Peterson or Nat geo guides overkill if I am only going to Hawaii, I already have Sibley and others for US. Is there any other guide that you suggest?

The little Audubon book is probably the most sensible published thing I know of. Any other book (ie, Pratt or a book that includes continental US) covers massive areas and Hawaii is just a little slice of it.

Merlin covers Hawaii quite well as well.
 
Ian Paulsen (who often has the inside track on field guides) posted the following information on his facebook page which should be of interest:

"Penguin/Random House has announced the publication date for the newly revised Nat Geo East/West Bird Guides: 4 February 2025. The 8th edition of the whole guide is due out in September 2025. Normally this would have been done in reverse order, but given that Disney now owns Nat Geo Publishing, it must be part of their marketing plan?? Plus from the sample pages I have seen of this new version, it’s been Disneyfied (with apologies to Ted Floyd)! So it’s no longer an advanced bird guide but for upper level beginners/ lower level intermediate birders. I'm disappointed by this because this is the bird guide I lost my "birding virginity" to. The first edition was published in 1983, the year I graduated high school and entered college. I learned so much from this guide and took it everywhere I birded. I became a much more experienced birder because of this guide.

Do we have any idea whether the single-volume guide will just be a combination of the new East/West guides, or is it possible that the combined book will retain the more rigorous textual style of the 7th edition, leaving the regional books as the "gateway" editions?
 
No clue, but based on prior editions there really isn't much content difference between the regional and the combined books, just obvious exclusion of species not found in the area of interest. I would imagine this would continue to be the thing, otherwise they would need to substantially revise the writing which requires time and money.
 

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