Sibley’s Birding Basics


An introduction to the basic principles of bird identification, from feather arrangement to perception

First edition, Oct 2002

168 pages, flexibound


Availability: In stock

SKU: B06 Category: Tags: , , ,

Books that are sold directly through this website are always signed, and can also be personalized according to your instructions (for example “to John James, Happy Birthday!”). At checkout you will see a box where you can enter any special instructions for an inscription, and I will take care of that before I ship the books.

To see a list of books that are sold through this website click here. (Prints are also sold directly here and all are signed)

If you would like a signed copy of a book that is not sold here, the easiest way is to check my events schedule and contact the bookstore at one of my upcoming events. Most stores will be happy to take your order for a book with inscription and shipping, and I will sign the book when I am at the store.

If you already own a book and would like it signed, you can catch up to me in person at one of my events and I will be happy to sign it.

A “flexibound” binding is a flexible cover that is thicker than a typical paperback and extends beyond the page edges. It is intermediate between the traditional “paperback” and “hardcover” styles, and many sellers simply list it as one of those categories, causing some confusion.

They are all the same (with one exception). The Sibley Guides to Birds and Trees have only one binding, called “flexibound”. It is a flexible cover, thicker than a typical paperback and extending beyond the page edges. It is intermediate between the traditional “paperback” and “hardcover” styles, and many sellers list it as one of those two categories.

Regardless of how it is listed, all copies for sale have the same flexibound cover. The only exception is the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, which was originally published in a hardcover binding, but is now sold as flexibound.

It is a book for birders of all levels. In origin and concept it is an expanded introduction to the field guide. It covers all of the fundamentals of bird identification with the goal of helping you understand the techniques of birding and the patterns of variation in birds. In that way it will help you get more out of the field guide. A motivated beginner will learn a lot from it, and there is a lot that will also be of interest (if not new) to the experienced birder.

About the book

Birding Basics, published in October 2002, is meant to be the introduction to The Sibley Guide to Birds. It was clear when I was writing the introduction in that book, kept short for very good reasons, that it would not be sufficient to cover all of the details that I thought it should. So I cut and condensed to make that intro, and two years later came up with the idea to create a whole new book.

This book introduces readers to the basic information that underlies the techniques of modern bird identification. It is a beginner’s guide to the concepts and tools of bird identification; topics such as molt, feather wear, shape, structure, and feather patterns, to name a few. Understanding the basics of the appearance and variation of birds will help any birder of any level advance to make quicker and more accurate identifications. This book will work with any field guide.

More information is available here

Information from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Spanish language edition

Spanish language edition

Also available from:


Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle


Version history:


First Edition

First printing – October 2002

BirdingBasics_in_Spanish Translated to Spanish and published by Corbidi, 2010

Spanish edition


Weight 11 oz