Monday, November 8, 2021

Book Review: National Geographic Complete Birds of North America

Happy Monday! I have to brag and tell you that I am already half completed with my Christmas shopping. I'm not kidding- this is such a good feeling and I think this is something I'm going to keep doing every year because I already feel less stressed out about it. Other than that, I've been getting my nerd on and reading some non-fiction. 

Complete Birds of North America 

National Geographic

This desk reference is the most up-to-date and comprehensive source of knowledge on North American bird identification, distribution, behavior, habitat, and conservation concerns available today.

More an encyclopedia than a field guide, National Geographic's Complete Birds is a browsable treasure trove of facts. This comprehensive volume profiles every bird observable in the continental United States and Canada, featuring species accounts with details that include calls and songs, breeding behaviors, molting patterns, and the vast extent of their polar and neotropical migrations. The precision maps, illuminating photographs, and more than 4,000 exquisite pieces of annotated art make this the biggest and best bird book ever.

This third edition, thoroughly updated, includes:

Information on more than 1,000 species and subspecies
Overviews of every family
Organization reflecting current taxonomy
850 range maps, more than half updated since the last edition
Sidebars on identification challenges such as distinguishing between Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers in fall or separating the various species of white egrets
If you would have told me like 20 years ago that I would become a bird nut, I would have thought you were crazy. I am that person that doesn't like birds swooping around me, or being outside when there are a bunch of birds because I just really don't want to get pooped on. 

Honestly, I don't think I'm alone in that. 

Over the years though, I've really gotten into checking out the birds that come into my yard and wondering what the heck that was. Over the last five years for sure I've really gotten into maintaining different bird feeders and being mindful of the plants I put in the garden because I want to make sure the birds like them (also the bees). Fortunately, our neighborhood birds are not scared of my dog at all but it's hard to be scared by a 15 pound morkie named Twinky wearing a sweater. 

The only problem is I know almost nothing about birds, and I certainly can't identify what kind of bird is swooping at my dog for fun. We live in an area that we actually have a huge range of birds that come and go seasonally but also several who stick around for the harsh winters and I'm always curious as to why they would hang around. 

Which is where this book comes in- if every there was a comprehensive book to tell you everything and anything about the birds you'll encounter in your 'hood, or even on vacation, this is it. Just under 800 pages of in depth information about every kind of bird possible. Divided into sections like, hummingbirds, puffins, swallows, dippers, loons, and a bunch more- you're going to learn about their identification, migration, population, rare status, similar species, etc. Each bird has colorful and details pictures so you can see what they look like when they aren't swooping at your head. They also show a map with their migration pattern so you can hopefully figure out which bird is hogging your feeder. 

I have Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds that come to my yard every spring/early summer, that's when they are all over my yard. They particularly like the horse chestnut tree because it does get these yellow flowers all over it so it must be an amazing buffet for them. I also saw an Eastern Bluebird for the first time in my life this summer, it was the brightest blue I had ever seen but I couldn't get a good picture of it from inside the house. Those look similar to Indigo Buntings, but those have more blue on them, so I'm pretty sure that's not what it was that I saw. Also, I saw my first Northern Cardinal this summer. I only saw one, so I wonder if he'll come back next summer. I also get a lot of different Warblers in my yard, which I didn't know that was a kind of bird, so that's kind of cool to know. 

To say I have been geeking out with this book is an understatement. Even the kids have been going through it and just picking out the birds they think look the coolest. I'm a fan of any kind of book that fosters learning. If you're looking for a gift for a birder in your life (or maybe one just starting out), this would be a great one. Maybe you're just looking for an interesting coffee table book or maybe a book for the cabin/camper, this would be a good one. Highly recommend. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for having me on this tour! I am a fan of anything to do with National Geographic and you never get through a book from them without learning a thing or two. 

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