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March 8, 2013 / Leslie

Weekend Birding Spotlight: National Geographic Bird-Watcher’s Bible

BirdWatchersBibleBird-Watcher’s Bible
Edited by Jonathan Alderfer

Genre: Science, Non-Fiction
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publish Date: October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover | 416 pages
Rating: 5 of 5

From the front cover …

Whether you’re a beginning birder, a seasoned expert, or just an admirer from afar, Bird-Watcher’s Bible brings it all home blending art, science, history, folklore, and fun in one delightful volume.

One of my favorite birding field guides is published by National Geographic so it’s no surprise I thoroughly enjoyed paging through the recently published Bird Watcher’s Bible. Natural history writers and bird experts have joined together to share their knowledge in this beautiful volume.

The book presents a variety of information laid out in an attractive, enticing format, perfect for browsing through the pages. This is not intended as a field guide to identify birds. It is more like a modern-day encyclopedia with a wealth of information. The artwork is gorgeous with beautiful color photos and illustrations. The text consists of brief narratives and, scattered throughout, numerous sidebars containing interesting facts, anecdotes and lists.

A few interesting anecdotes:

The calming effect of birdsong may be the reason that the crime rate dipped in Lancaster, a high desert city near Los Angeles. In 2011, the town installed 70 speakers along half a mile of its main thoroughfare and piped in a dulcet chorus of songs, chirps, and tweets — minor crime fell 15% and major crimes were down 6%.

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 file The Birds was inspired by real-life events around Monterey Bay, California, in 1960 when dying and disoriented seabirds flew into homes.

One of the recurring sidebar factoids was a series on the derivation of a bird’s name. If you listen closely, some birds will tell you their names.

For example, the eastern Phoebe calls out fee-be, the Eastern Wood Pewee says pee-a-wee, and the Blue Jay shrieks a piercing jay, jay jay.

Enjoyable, entertaining and at times amusing, this very readable book is not just for bird enthusiasts. Highly recommended for readers of all ages and levels who enjoy nature and the wonder and joy of birds.

© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Arti / Mar 8 2013 10:20 am

    This looks like a comprehensive volume indeed. I have the National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of NA, 6th ed. But I always leave it at home when I go birding… why? I can hardly see the birds close enough to check. I’d take a photo then come home and crop it close before I know what exactly it is. LOL I know.


    • Leslie / Mar 8 2013 10:30 am

      I never carry a field guide either. I do keep an old one in the car though. When I’m out walking I rely on my camera, my field mark notes and other birders. If I stopped to flip through a book the bird would be gone!


  2. BermudaOnion / Mar 8 2013 10:34 am

    That’s the perfect book for you!


  3. Beth Hoffman / Mar 8 2013 10:53 am

    My shelves are loaded with all sorts of birding books, and I usually carry a small Audubon field guide with me. I have the feeling that I would love this book!


  4. Fay / Mar 8 2013 11:43 am

    This spot in the Northern Rockies is on one of the major north-south bird migration corridors, and this sounds like a good book to have. Is that an Audubon print on the cover?


    • Leslie / Mar 8 2013 12:03 pm

      Not sure if that’s an Audubon print but it sure does look like one.


  5. Suko / Mar 8 2013 3:18 pm

    This looks really lovely! As Kathy says, this is the perfect book for you.


  6. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Mar 8 2013 6:11 pm

    This looks like a wonderful keeper.


  7. Louise / Mar 9 2013 2:39 am

    Sounds like a great book, I’d love an Australian equivalent.


  8. Carol / Mar 13 2013 9:49 am

    Sounds like a marvelous book for a certain teenager I know.



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