National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America is one of the better small-scale field guides that I have seen. You cannot expect a book like this to cover all species that occur in North America, but it does a great job of hitting 160 of the most abundant and iconic species on this continent while also providing plates of additional less common species.
The introduction offers a lot of useful information for beginning birders in the "Invitation to Birding" section. There are details on why bird identification matters, where to go birding, selecting optics, and bird topography.
On each species' page, there is a small map, some key facts and both a photo and a drawing, which is one of my favorite aspects of this book. By offering both a photo and a drawing, this book is able to offer significantly more identification help then most guides its size. (Usually, pocket guides have one or the other - not both.)
It is important to remember that no matter which pocket guide you purchase, you will come across some species in the field that will not be in your guide. But if you are birding only in your backyard, anywhere in the North America, the birds that you see will mostly likely be in this book.
Title: National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America
Authors: Laura Erickson and Jonathan Alderfer
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
We received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on NuttyBirder.com. The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.