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April 27, 2012


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James Farley

I am not sure where I picked up my first edition. Although not a first printing it is one of the early copies, I probably got it for a dollar at a yard sale. I also purchased the fourth edition and I was lucky enough to meet Roger and have a photo taken at Hawk Mountains Fifty Year reunion in 1984. He signed this book and it remains one of my treasures with the photo fastened inside.
Thanks much for this very valuable addition to the Peterson legacy.
Jim Farley Fogelsville, Pa.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Glad to help you and your son out, Keith! Enjoy that treasure!

Keith Landa

Thank you for this description of the different printings of the first edition. It looks like my son's first edition is also Third State, with the corrected index entry for bog-pumper, tissue guards, and clean white plumage.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Scott, thanks for sharing about your book that has a great story behind it!!

Scott Burnham

thanks for the information. I have my dads first edition 3rd state (since you explained it) he won it for winning a bird identification contest in the zoology dept at Iowa State University in the 30's. It is cool because all of his professors signed it.

The Zen Birdfeeder

KestrelHill, how fantastic to have a first edition, first state, regardless of the condition. What makes it most valuable is the book's history - something to treasure now and for generations to come. Thanks so much for sharing your story!


Wow, thank you for these tips! Now I know my husband's grandmother's copy is, in fact, a first first. It's in shabby condition (one of the grandchildren did some coloring of their own) but I'll treasure it as a sign of a 3-generation passion for birds. Just like I'd never give up my father's 3rd edition, the one we birded with together.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Thanks for sharing, Rick.
As I mentioned in the post, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute site www.rtpi.org is a great resource and has three articles that pertain specifically to Peterson Guides:
1) Collecting the guide
2) How to identify a Peterson first edition
3) The one you mention, A Book Collector's Guide to Roger Tory Peterson
They're all interesting and informative reads.

Rick Wright

Here's a nice bibliographic overview by Paul Johnsgard.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Jason - birds and books seem to go together and MANY MANY of us bird lovers are also book lovers. Here's two of the biggest bird/book nuts I know:
John Riutta at http://www.wellreadnaturalist.com/ and Birder's Library http://www.birderslibrary.com/ Check 'em out!
Obsessed - take care of those guides!

Jason Kessler

I, too, am a birder and book nut. I wonder how many of us are?


Beautiful! I have two copies of Eastern Birds and a copy of Western Birds.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Dawn - thanks and I'm still on the hunt for 1st and 2nd state now. I'd even settle for a 4th state to build a collection of all 4!!
Donna - I'm a believer that books will never go away, no matter what the ebook people say. There's nothing like holding a book in your hands - especially one as special as this.
Nigel, I have a backyard Peterson already on my iPad. Colors are great!

Donna Schulman

What a great post! I love it when my two worlds, birds and books, come together. And, as a librarian, I understand how the older edition of a book can bring the character of an older, different world into our hands.

Dawn Fine

Very cool info dear Zen..I know your name is Zen but i cant quit the twitter name ..hee hee.
So happy you have this great book!


Hi Nancy,
Nice post. I'm still keeping my eyes open for a first edition myself. And very interesting to hear that you always reach for Peterson first, even before more "modern" guides.
Have you seen the Peterson Birds guide for the iPhone and iPad developed by my company, Appweavers? It has all of the details from the latest edition of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, with a lot of supplementary information from seven other Peterson bird guides. Looks amazing on the iPad. And putting the app on an iPhone means you're always going to have your Peterson's with you, where ever you go!
You can download it from the iTunes app store.
All the best,
Nigel Hall
Appweavers, Inc.

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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.