Tessa's Nonfiction Book Review: National Geographic Pocket Guide: Birds of North America

While I give the little National Geographic Pocket Guide: Birds of North America four stars, be warned that this is not a field guide. Jacket coverIt does not even cover all common birds in any region. For instance, it covers four woodpecker species but completely leaves out the Hairy Woodpecker, which is a common enough species anywhere. Only two flycatchers are covered, where Michigan alone has nearly a dozen species. The two-page spreads of other birds in a category do not make up for this. Especially since they didn't even do it for the categories mentioned above!

That said, the photos in this book more than make up for that! I recommend the book to beginners as a gorgeous little introduction to guides. I recommend it to experienced birders for the photos--and some of them will make you laugh out loud, or at least do a doubletake.

For instance, one photo is labeled Red-breasted nuthatch, but when you look at it, there is a barred owl. When you look again, oh yeah, there is the tiny little nuthatch beside it on the branch. You can just bet that nuthatch would be fussing at the barred owl--maybe not so close, but little birds do mob the big predatory ones a lot. Under the entry for the hooded oriole, you get a photo of about two inches of tail sticking out of the distinctive nest. What a riot! These photos are funny but useful, since they show the birds in typical situations. The other content is fairly typical, but has equally charming moments. Recommended to anyone interested in birds, with the noted reservations.  ~Tessa  4 out of 5 stars  2013