The long-awaited update to The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America is an almost 800 page major revision of the popular similarly named guides to the eastern and western regions of North America.
This new guide is beautiful and big and covers all of North America’s bird species. The merge of both east and west regions makes this guide bulky, heavy, and not necessarily a “true” field guide (to be used in the field). But it provides a lot of great photographs and information and is a worthy addition to the birding library.
The introductory text is a bit sparse with just the basics about how to use the book and the different parts of birds. The species accounts include numerous color photographs and show the birds at different angles to best showcase identification features.
The text describes what critical features to look for, habitat and migration information as well as an explanation of the bird’s voice. The range maps are small but easy to understand.
Also included in The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America is a CD of bird calls of 150 bird species. The sounds are referenced throughout the guide with the matching number on the CD for quick reference.
The sounds are from the widely popular Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs (Eastern and Western) and provide a nice companion to the guide, especially after loading them into an iPod or similar device.
Overall, The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America provides a visually appealing reference book to birds. It doesn’t quite work as an “in the field field guide” but the photography and text are worthwhile to aide in familiarizing with birds you are likely to see.
Disclaimer: This book was given to us by the book’s publisher to provide an honest review.