Hey, remember last March when we were all excited to see the new and improved Sibley Guide to Birds Second Edition and there were some color issues? I'm happy to report that there has been a second printing and I would say that it is safe to purchase this one of a kind bird guide.
Mine just came in the mail and it's clear that the publisher listened to people's concerns which included the reds were too dark, the font too light to read and some of the greens were a little off.
The first page I went to when the second edition came out (both times) was the scarlet tanager page. That was the first clue that the reds were off with the first printing. With the newer edition the scarlet tanager is brighter. Not as bright as the app, but it works for me. Now many people said that they didn't mind the darker reds--they know a tanager despite how dark it looked in the book. But if you have a Sibley, you want that guide for the harder to id birds and that's where the reds need to be better.
So if you were holding off on purchasing the new Sibley, now is the time to purchase it--the Second Edition includes more than 600 new painting and 111 rare species were added. There are many additional notes on how and where to watch for birds and flight patters. Some taxonomy is still out of date--but isn't it always with field guides? There is no Ridgway's rail in this edition.
However, it truly is a magnificent book and I'm happy that the publishers took the time to give David Sibley's illustrations the proper printing they needed. That man knows how to communicate bird id so elegantly with his brush strokes. So much hard work went into this book and I think that's what made the first printing so disappointing, it's truly a thing of beauty to see Sibley paintings how they were meant to be seen.
I would be wary of purchasing this guide online because you wouldn't be able to tell if someplace like Amazon would ship you a first or second printing. When you have the book in hand, look for the copyright page (the back of the title page) and look for "Second printing, July 2014." You could also go to page 541 and look at the scarlet tanager.
No word yet on when there will be an app version. My guess is that is on the back burner since they clearly worked hard to get the second printing of the second edition where it needs to be to make all us picayune birders happy.
I've been asked if people can trade in first printings--I have no idea. You would have to take that up with whoever you purchased your guide from or the publisher or the company that printed the book (note photo above: Knopf or Scott and Nix). Who knows, maybe the first printing could become a collector's item? I would love it if I could get my first printing autographed with a, "Whoopsie, David Sibley." Or even better, "Are you happy now??? David Sibley" on my second printing.