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Field Guides (1 Viewer)

Hello to the board. This is my first time posting here. I have been feeding birds for years,But never really got into birding. Well,At the tender young age of 45 I have started to watch the birds. Went out and bought a pair of binoculars,Thinking about what type of spotting scope I should buy and bought a field guide,Stokes Eastern Region. Which brings me to my question. I have spotted two differant type birds in my town but I can't ID them at all. There not in the field guide anywhere. Is there a better FG out there that I should have or are they pretty much all the same? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dave B Smith

Well-known member
This question will definitely get some answers. I find the Peterson's Field Guides the easiest to use for ID purposes. Another highly regarded one is the new Sibley Guide.

Another option is to post a good description (or better yet a photo) of the birds in question in the Bird Identification thread.

good luck,

Rasmus Boegh

BF member
Welcome Jersey Bird-man!

Have a look at this thread:

It was regarding someone wanting a fieldguide for California, but the info would be very usefull to you aswell. Several times guides for western USA by Sibley and another by Peterson are mentioned. But, similar eastern guides exist aswell (both one by Peterson and one by Sibley), them having the same ups and downs as the western guides described in the above thread.
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Senior Member
Hi J-B-M and welcome to Birdforum from the Moderators and Staff.
I'd reiterate Dave's opinion,both the Peterson and Sibley being the most 'useable'.
The Stokes guide,which I also have,is a photographic guide and not as effective in my opinion;however,it does contain useful information on feeding,behaviour,habitat etc and so is well worth keeping.


Ford Focus Fanatic: mmmmmm... 3.1415926535.....
Hey Welcome JerseyBirdMan!

I have several field guides and encyclopedias (the more guides you have the better the chances of correctly IDing a mysterious bird will be):

1. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America ($19.95)
2. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America ($19.95)
3. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America ($21.95)
4. Birds of New York Field Guide (Other states are available; check your local bookstores; $13.95)
5. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica ($39.95)
6. A Guide to Birding ($29.95)
7. The Encyclopedia of North American Birds ($N/A)

I'd recommend the Sibley regional guides and the National Geographic. For the price, they are invaluable. If you prefer photos over illustrations, The Peterson guides (also regional) are the way to go. If you want to see which birds were recorded in your state, go with Stan Tekiela's Birds of <state> Field Guide. My New York version was $13.95, not sure if this price is the same throughout all the other books.


Senior Member
gthang said:
If you prefer photos over illustrations, The Peterson guides (also regional) are the way to go.

The Peterson Field Guides are not photo guides,but illustrations as in Sibley and Nat Geo.


Ford Focus Fanatic: mmmmmm... 3.1415926535.....
Oh, sorry! I don't have the Peterson guide, so I wouldn't know. I thought they had photos...


Well-known member
Welcome BirdyJerseyMan:). Brrr Nets are 1-2 now :p.
Welcome here. Hope you find yourself your dream scope in here so that you can post some nice pics:). I have yet to do so myself :D. Enjoy.


United States
I don't like the Stokes guides for the pictures. One with photos that is better is the Audubon guide.

As for the birds, start with colorful ones. Stan Tekiela has state by state books, I'm sure he has New Jersey. Organization is by color, not much good once you get really going. It should have some 200 birds, easier to leaf thru than 700.

Birds of New Jersey: Field Guide
by Stan Tekiela

List Price: $13.95
cheap Price: $11.16


Well-known member
Hi JerseyBir Man, Welcome to Bird Forum!

Small world, I live in Knollwood, Hopatcong, I think we share sightings of the same Osprey's that tour the lake.
As you get into this hobby, you end up buying most of the guides for your area and a western edition just in case a rare one shows up.
Hope to see you out in the field one of these days!


Mod Squad
Let me sound a serious vote for the National Geographic -- I think it's terrific.

Frankly, I think the Audubon guides are terrible, although that was the first one I ever purchased (I was seduced by the heron silhouette). Nothing is together! Males, females, species accounts are all in different places. By the time you figure out what you're looking at, it's flown off to the next county!
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