March 29, 2020

Bird Book Recommendations

Bird Books

If you are an avid bird watcher or you just like to learn about different animals, then you might want to consider adding a bird book to your bookshelf. They can help you to identify local species as well as some endangered ones, should you get the honor of seeing one.

To help give you an idea of some of the most knowledgeable ones, here is a simple list of the five best ones that you can get today along with a FAQ section at the end to help you find what you are looking for.

Top 5: Bird Books Review

This is one of the best books if you are looking for an edition that is thoroughly detailed with species that can be found easily in your area and species that are a little more unique.

It is also one of the few out there that you can find that can come in a digital and physical copy, hardcover and paperback.

Brand new, it can be a little more expensive, even if it is not the collectors' edition, but between its smaller than average size that makes it a bit easier to take on bird watching trips and the availability, this is one of the hardest books to beat.


  • Is one of the most popular.
  • Available in several copy types.
  • Is one of the most thorough editions.


  • Is one of the more expensive ones.

This, like the last book, is mainly about the species in the North American area, but it does have a lesser amount of species than the last book.

However, like the last book, you can get this book in a digital and physical form, both hardcover and paperback, which can be a little more convenient.

You can also get this in the special collector's edition which is a little rare and expensive, but the regular edition is just as high quality and fun to read as the collector's edition, too.


  • Has most North American species.
  • Available in several copy types.
  • Is one of the most favored editions.


  • Is not as thorough as others.

This book has a since level of new information with the classic-looking drawings of the birds that are simple but easy to identify.

It only comes in a physical copy (hardcover and softcover) but the information goes far beyond just the birds and their characteristics. The book also contains information about the author's experiences, photographing the birds, and more, too.

Not to mention that it is one of the more affordable editions out there, even the special collector's edition is more affordable than some of the other books out there.


  • Is one of the most affordable editions.
  • Is one of the newer ones.
  • Pretty thorough.


  • Can be large for bird watching.

Another book by National Geographic, you can get this book in digital or a paperback copy, but because it is one of the older and more affordable editions, it can be one of the harder ones to find out there.

Still, there are amazing pictures and illustrations of the birds throughout the entire book, mostly birds from North America. The layout is also simple enough for most children and teenagers to read and stay interested in, too.

You might have a hard time grinding the collector's edition of this book, though; especially at the price that most sellers have it listed. Still, if you can get your hands on a new (basic edition) copy, then you can enjoy the content of this book for a long while.


  • Available in several copy types.
  • Is one of the most popular editions.
  • Is one of the most affordable.


  • Goes out of stock quickly.

The last on the list, this book is nearly just as popular as the previous one, but it is a little more expensive while the collector's edition is a bit more affordable; a bit of a flip flop compared to the last book.

Also, this book is not just focused on North American birds, and it contains more information on certain unique and rather rare species that most people do not know about.

You can only get this book in a hardcover physical copy, but the cover is actually quite durable and strong; it can be dropped a few times without taking lots of damage.


  • Is one of the best for rare and unique species.
  • Hardcover is durable.
  • Has one of the most detailed illustrations.


  • Can be out of stock often.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Bird Book Should You Get?

If you are planning on getting a book that you can use a guide for identifying different species while you are out hiking or bird watching, you may want to try looking for books that have most if not all of the species in that area.

It can also help to get a smaller-sized book so that it is not weighing you down or taking up as much space in your backpack, too.

Otherwise, nearly every other kind of book out there can be a great choice; big, small, thorough, basic, etc.

Should You Get a Newer Book or an Older One?

Newer books can have updated information on certain species' appearance, habits, locations, and more, so if you want the latest information, these are probably the best choice.

Although, brand new books can tend to be a bit more expensive, especially if they are less than a year or two old.

On the other hand, older books can still be just as accurate when it comes to well-known species and information about them. They can also be a bit more affordable than the newer editions, even if some of the information may be a bit outdated.

Should You Get a Physical Copy or an Ebook?

Physical copies can give a classic comfort, and they can be a bit more convenient if you are going on walks or hikes and your phone, tablet, or kindle has a low battery.

However, physical copies do not last as long as digital ones since they can easily be damaged and/or lost. Digital copies can also be accessed across several different devices, making them a bit more convenient to access in multiple locations at any time.

Final Verdict

When it comes to the winner of the best out of these, the top dog would probably be the first book, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Paul D. Hess and David Bird. It is a rare find to be able to have the book in either a paper or ebook form and contain as much information as it does.

You can click the link above to see if it is small enough for you to be able to use for bird watching, or check out the other books if you already have this one and want a different one to add to your collection.

Things You May Not Have Known About Birds

They chirp in the early mornings and bring peace to the forest. Did you know, on a worldwide scale, more than 10,000 species of birds exist? Scientists believe that birds evolved from a type of dinosaur known as the theropod. Birds have hollow bones, which allows them to fly more easily. Let's have a look at some of the interesting facts about birds.

Largest Bird in the World

The ostrich, the largest bird in the world, can be found in subsaharan parts of Africa. It used to be that you could find the ostrich in places all over Africa and Asia, but because of extensive and relentless hunting, the birds have had their numbers reduced greatly.

In general, the ostrich will usually roam the savannahs in groups of 50 or more birds for greater protection. The males also tend to be territorial, and they act aggressively in these cases. You have to be careful because ostriches have powerful legs, and their kicks have been known to kill predators like lions. In some cases, they have killed humans as well. Their legs only kick forward, however.

With a single stride ostriches can cover 10 to 16 feet. It's estimated that they can run up to 45 miles per hour.

Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand. If an ostrich senses danger, it will flop to the ground and lay perfectly still. The head and neck are light colored, which helps them to blend in.

Parrots and Sexual Attraction to Humans

A lot of people may not realize this, but parrots have been known to have a sexual attraction to humans. As the pet gets imprinted on its owner, these birds have the tendency to believe that the owner is its mate especially if they were hand-reared.

Because of this, they have even rejected other birds as potential mates, and the unwanted affection can get a little awkward.

Philippine Eagle

Perhaps one of the most fascinating birds in the world, the Philippine Eagle is so large that it has been known to take monkeys right off the tree even if it doesn't do this commonly. The female Philippine Eagle is usually larger.

You can find this bird on four of the major islands in the Philippines, but as of today, only 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles exist in the wild. Because of deforestation, this bird hasn't faired well, unfortunately. The Philippine Eagle can live a long time, however, and they can live for up to 60 years.

Smartest Birds on the Planet

Despite a somewhat tarnished reputation, many researchers believe that crows and ravens could be among some of the smartest animals on the planet. Next to primates, they're the next smartest in the world. Crows have been known to hold funerals, and they memorize garbage routes as a way of getting food.

This bird has been championed for its ability to solve problems. For example, in Akita, Japan, there was a crow that cracked nuts using the traffic on roads. If that isn't a smart bird, who knows what a smart bird is.

The most interesting thing is that their intelligence may even be far above what we once thought. They have always been known as a smart bird, but their intelligence could exceed what we once thought. If you ever do a kindness to a crow, they have been known to tell other crows and bring gifts. The crow remembers faces. Likewise, if someone has harmed a crow, that crow won't forget it.

Crows hate being captured, and if they ever get captured, it has been proven that they will act more aggressively toward humans, even one that didn't catch them.

Anatomy of a Bird

Let's have a look at the anatomy of a bird. Everything about birds reflect on their ability to fly. Along with the bones being hollow, the wings were shaped to create lift. In fact, did you know that plane wings were modeled after bird wings? They even have a thin light beak because of how it helps them to take flight.

Birds also have a unique digestive system that lets them digest food even while flying. That should put a picture on it.

Why Do Birds Have Feathers?

Perhaps you have wondered to yourself why birds have feathers. You may have heard that it helps with flight, and that is one purpose, but birds also have feathers for protection. This protects them from both the weather and from injury. In the cold, it serves as insulation to keep them warm, and in warm weather, it can keep them cool.

You may have also noticed how birds like to take bird baths. Why do birds do this? Birds like to take baths because of how feather maintenance is super important. How often they take a bath comes down to personal preference, but you can usually count on a bird taking a bath at least once a week, if not, every day. This helps them to loosen the dirt clumps from their feathers, which can make it more difficult for them to take flight.

After a bird bath, their feathers will look shinier, and they will look like a healthier bird. During the process of preening its feathers, the bird will spread the oil from its preen glands, and it might trap an insulating air pocket beneath itself to keep warm.

Ever noticed how birds don't usually take a bath quietly? They will usually splash around. They do this because of how their hollow bones have made it difficult for them to submerge themselves fully in the water. To get around this problem, they will splash around.

Also, deep water could get them too soaked, and that could prevent them from flying. That could be a real problem with predators around. Instead, they do it so that they just make their feathers wet enough.

Cardinals Like to Cover Themselves in...Ants?

Definitely one of the more peculiar behaviors, cardinals have been known from time to time to either cover themselves in crushed or even living ants. What's the purpose of that? Researchers still haven't proven anything for certain, but they believe that the formic acid secreted from the ants helps the bird to get rid of parasites and lice.

In truth, you have around 200 species of birds, usually songbirds, who have been known to participate in what has become known as "anting." Outside of the idea that they use this to get rid of parasites, the other thought is that they use this for a food source.

The Fascinating Owl

In truth, it is a myth that owls can turn their head an entire 360 degrees, but they can turn it quite far. They can turn their head 135 degrees in either direction, which means that they can turn it 270 degrees in total.

Scientists believe that they can do this because of the anatomy of an owl. Owls have a certain bone adaptation, and they have blood vessels with a contractile reservoir to help. This lets them turn their head like this without cutting off blood flowing to the brain.

The Eagle Owl has also been known to go after some large prey, such as small deer fawns. These attacks are quite rare, and it has become even rarer to catch it on camera, but it does happen. The Eagle Owl has the ability to kill cats and dogs as well.

Hawks: What You Need to Know

Another apex predator of the sky, hawks can live anywhere from 10 to 20 years in the wild. Hawks have an acute sense of eyesight and keen hearing, but they have a poor sense of smell.

They have become known for their mating ritual dance. During this time, they will fly together in the air in a circular fashion. Then the male will dive toward the female, and they will raise themselves back upwards again. Finally, the male latches onto the female, and they will freefall toward the earth. In some cases, they will fall at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Because of the smaller size of hawks in comparison to other larger birds of prey, you can scare off a hawk much easier than what you could some of the others. To scare off a bird, you will use loud sounds and large and violent gestures. This will steer it away from your yard.

Important to note: Do not try to hit a hawk because that is illegal. Under federal law, these birds and owls are protected. Hawks rarely attack humans, but they might attack a small pet if the opportunity arises.

Bald Eagles

Some of the largest birds on the planet, eagles sit at the top of the food chain. In fact, they don't even always do fish hunting on their own. They look for an osprey that has captured a fish, and they will chase it down until the osprey drops the fish. The bald eagle has especially perfected the art of stealing fish.

On record, the longest-lived bald eagle was 38, and they usually find a mate and keep them for life. Did you know bald eagles can also sort of swim? Videos of them doing this exist online. They will sometimes grab a fish and paddle themselves to shore to dine.

As you can see, the world of birds is fascinating, and you have many things to love about these precious creatures. Some species have color while the birds of prey have frightening speeds and senses much sharper than that of humans. You will even find a thriving community of people who argue on what is the most interesting bird.

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