Review of National Geographic Illustrated Birds of North America Folio Edition

National Geographic is well known for its use of beautiful imagery, so it comes as no surprise that the National Geographic Illustrated Birds of North America, Folio Edition
is gorgeous. This particular work is not only large in fantastic artwork but also in size: larger than a standard sized sheet of paper in both width and height and weighing over five pounds! Needless to say, this isn’t something to bring on a bird hike.

But of course, that’s why this is a folio edition. Its magnitude of size and beauty are partially what make this a great edition to your library. The format and content matches National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fifth Edition pretty precisely. Illustrated Birds presents 967 North American bird species in accurate, scientific detail. Each species is given a sizable writeup and 710 of the birds have range maps.

A noticeable addition to the folio edition is that the maps have been greatly enhanced and enlarged to show more detail. Some birds not treated to maps in the field guide at all, now have one.

Content-wise perhaps there is no real reason to own this book as the field guide sufficiently covers the information in a smaller package. But after triggering an enthused discussion on Facebook with the simple question: “Can you have too many books?”, we know that this is worthy of a prominent place on your bookshelf.

And the unanimous answer to the question above: No!

This is one of those books that really does make a great gift, especially for a younger or newer birder. Being over-sized yet not overloaded with scientific data, the beauty of the birds and cleanness of the maps make it easy to understand and appealing to look at. Sometimes overwhelming the senses with a colorful presentation of birds mixed with that “new book smell” can be a great asset in triggering a lifelong interest in birds.

National Geographic Illustrated Birds of North America, Folio Edition
National Geographic Books
Oct 20, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4262-0525-5
$50.00 Hardcover

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