Review – National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America

The National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America is a handy-sized, easy-to-use tool for backyard birding. And no matter how many hours you log “in the field”, some of the best birding can (and is) done right at home.

The guide includes 150 of the most common backyard species across North America and inevitably some that are “common” to you may not be found here. We regularly get numerous species of warblers that pass through, most of which are not included.

The information on each species is superb. The text includes information on identification, range, food, and nesting along with beautifully illustrated artwork and large range map. At the bottom of each species is a monthly sightings chart to record your observations.

The “Backyard Basics” section covers numerous topics including feeder types, kinds of bird food, choosing binoculars, and how to landscape for birds, which is broken down by region of the country. There are also three pages describing citizen science which includes information on Project Feeder Watch, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and eBird.

Interspersed with the species accounts are pages of information on observing and attracting birds, various behaviors, and other interesting points about backyard birds. These provide some fascinating nuggets of information and are well worth the read.

Some extra cool features we really like include:

  • the quick-find index in the front;
  • the visual index to bird species which is a fold-out split between front and back covers that includes all the species covered in the guide;
  • the color index inside the book which includes each species broken down by their most prominent color. Not only is this super cool looking (includes head shots of the birds that we wish were bigger!) but it makes for a quick comparison of birds of different families but of similar colors.

If you are a highly attuned backyard birder already we recommend you get the National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America as a gift for a friend, neighbor, or family member to spark their interest in birds!

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of this book from the publisher to review on

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