David Allen Sibley

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David Allen Sibley
Sibley at the 2014 National Book Festival
Sibley at the 2014 National Book Festival
BornOctober 22, 1961 (1961-10-22) (age 61)
Plattsburgh, New York
Occupationauthor, ornithologist, illustrator
Notable worksThe Sibley Guide to Birds

David Allen Sibley (born October 22, 1961, in Plattsburgh, New York) is an American ornithologist. He is the author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, which rivals Roger Tory Peterson's as the most comprehensive guides for North American ornithological field identification.

Life and work[edit]

The son of Yale University ornithologist Fred Sibley, David Sibley began birding in childhood.[1] Sibley got his start as a birdwatcher in Cape May Point, New Jersey in 1980, after dropping out of college.[2] A largely self-taught bird illustrator, he was inspired to pursue creating his own illustrated field guide after leading tours in the 1980s and 1990s and finding that existing field guides did not generally illustrate or describe alternate or juvenile plumages of birds. He cites European wildlife artist Lars Jonsson as a great influence on his own work.[3] In 2002, he received the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association for lifetime achievement in promoting the cause of birding.[4] In 2006, he was awarded the Linnaean Society of New York's Eisenmann Medal.

Sibley is married, with two sons, and currently lives in Concord, Massachusetts.[1] He is not known to be related to ornithologist Charles Sibley, although his father studied under and worked for Charles at Yale. Charles did some genealogical research but found they could be no closer than fourth cousins.


The following is a list of publications which Sibley has written or illustrated:


  1. ^ a b Strycker, Noah (May–June 2007). "A Birding interview with David Sibley" (PDF). Birding. 39 (3): 18–21.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Lemongello, Steven. "Professional birder, author, got start in Cape May Point", The Press of Atlantic City, October 24, 2009. Accessed September 12, 2019. "Like a migrating bird returning to its nesting grounds, noted birding guide author David Allen Sibley has returned to the town where he first learned about birdwatching.... The writer, now based out of Concord, Mass., first came to Cape May Point in the fall of 1980, 'when I essentially dropped out of college to go birdwatching full time.'"
  3. ^ "David Sibley Online". Surfbirds.com. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  4. ^ American Birding Association. "ABA Award Recipients". Retrieved January 25, 2018.

External links[edit]

David Allen Sibley talks about The Sibley Guide to Trees on Bookbits radio.