Last updated in 1990, the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds covers nearly 600 species on 176 color plates, with 588 comprehensive range maps, now included with the illustrations. Every bird watcher in western North America will want to own this long-awaited, up-to-date fourth edition.
Vinyl Bound ; 512 pages
Trim Size: 5.00 x 8.00
With all-new range maps, updated text, and 40 new paintings, the completely revised editions of two classic Peterson Field Guides are sure to be valuable additions to any birder's pocket or daypack. At a trim size of 5 x 8, they are portable but also beautifully illustrated. Photographs, while modern looking and colorful, capture just one moment in time. The paintings in these guides, however, show all of a bird's key field marks and use the Peterson Identification System to make bird identification easier for beginning and intermediate bird watchers. For example, the distinguishing field mark on a Rufous Hummingbird is its reddish brown back, which is meticulously shown and emphasized with an arrow, calling attention to its importance.
The color plates, originally painted by R.T. Peterson, and painstakingly reviewed and updated for this edition, are positioned opposite the identification text and color thumbnail range maps, allowing quick access to all of the information you need. But the larger range maps, known from earlier editions, are still found towards the end of the book, along with a complete 'Life List' checklist, and index.
A team of professional birders has updated the text, the maps, and the art for these authoritative guides. Expert birders also created 35 entertaining and easy-to-use video podcasts, which are available to download. They make fun and educational viewing on a computer desktop or MP3 player.
These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.
A review from Allen M. Hale, owner of Buteo Books:
Houghton Mifflin has issued new editions of Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America (Sixth Edition) and Field Guide to Birds of Western North America (Fourth Edition). One might ask, since Roger is no longer with us, what do these new editions offer over their predecessors? Most apparent at first glance is the appearance of geese, swans, and ducks as the first family treated in the books, a result of changes in the taxonomic order of species by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union. New world vultures have rejoined diurnal birds of prey, but vireos precede jays and crows. Name changes have been incorporated, e.g., Long-tailed Duck for Oldsquaw.
Small range maps are shown on text pages facing the plates. These maps are reproduced in a larger format towards the end of the book, permitting more accurate depiction of range. Annotated with side notes on changes in distribution and abundance, these maps are a valuable feature of these field guides. Color strips along the bottom of the pages identify the bird family and aid in finding the appropriate plates quickly. Retained from previous editions are a section on "How to Identify Birds," silhouettes, and a Life List checklist. For the computer savvy, 33 specially produced video podcasts may be accessed at www.petersonfieldguides.com.
In my view, having begun my birdwatching career with the Thirtieth Impression (1962) of the Third Edition of A Field Guide to the Birds (1947), the outstanding feature of Peterson's magnum opus are his color plates of the birds. RTPs ability to capture the essence of the species and point to the key field marks has not been surpassed and I have no hesitation in recommending these field guides as the best for beginner and expert alike. ---Allen M. Hale