Add speakerRemove speakerSpeaker added

David Allen Sibley

The world's leading authority on birds and birding; author and illustrator

CBS Sunday Morning | Artist David Sibley: For the birds
  • About David Allen Sibley

    The Sibley Guide to Birds, published in 2000, was the realization of a lifelong dream for David Allen Sibley, who began painting birds when he was seven years old and has continued painting them for over three decades. The Sibley Guide to Birds contains over 6,600 original illustrations by Sibley, now recognized as America’s leading ornithologist/illustrator. David Allen Sibley is the preeminent brand in American birding, and everywhere he goes, hundreds of fellow birders come out to meet him for his inventive presentations and lectures.

    The Sibley Guide to Birds became the fastest-selling bird book in history, earning Sibley the moniker “the Beatle of birding” among the press. Stories about Sibley have run in The New York TimesAudubonTime, and Science, and the author has appeared on ABC World News Tonight and on NPR’s Science Friday and The Connection. David Allen Sibley has been called the heir apparent to John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson, and his long-awaited guidebook immediately became the gold standard for bird identification when it was published.

    Used by millions of birders, from novices to the most expert, The Sibley Guide is now the standard by which natural history guides are measured. The second edition (published in March 2014) builds on this foundation of excellence, offering massively expanded and updated information, new paintings, new and rare species, and an elegant new design.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Art of Identification

    In the same way that poetry conveys rich meaning in just a few words, the illustrations in a field guide need to give maximum information in minimum space. Tracing his own artistic development through sketches and paintings, David discusses the unique requirements and challenges of illustrating for a field guide.

    The Genesis of the Sibley Guides

    The Sibley Guide to Birds was first conceived in the late 1970s, when David Sibley was only a teenager, and it took more than 20 years to bring it to completion. In this lecture David talks about the long but enjoyable journey from idea to finished book.

    The Psychology of Bird Identification

    In this lecture, illustrated with photos, drawings, and a few tests, David talks about how we perceive the world around us, and how our brains both help and hinder our efforts at bird identification.

  • Video

  • Praise for David Allen Sibley


    David was extremely well received by participants of our birding festival and his lecture was a perfect complement to the rest of our program. In all, about 140 guests attended his keynote, which ended up being the most well-attended portion of our entire three-day festival. With a theme of ‘Birding For All’, David’s talk emphasized how every one of us can be patient observers of the natural world around us, encouraging birders of every skill level to pay attention to even the most common species in our own backyards. David’s keynote was definitely the most profound highlight of the entire weekend and we very much appreciate him making the trip to Michigan.

    Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens

    David Sibley was a huge hit.  He’s a true giant in the birding community.  He was very gracious with his time and energy and made a significant impact with all who connected with him. His presentation itself was full of wonder and humor.  We would love to have him back at some point in the not too distant future.

    Icicle Creek Center for the Arts

    Mr. Sibley was nothing short of amazing. He was personable and down to earth and he truly made our festival a success! As a group, we have nothing but amazing things to say about Mr. Sibley and what a pleasure it was to have him at the Galt Winter Bird Festival.

    Galt Winter Bird Fest

    The perfect keynote for our 20th anniversary. We so enjoy Sibley coming – he hasn’t changed a bit – so very polite and accommodating! He helped lead a fieldtrip and people said it was worth every penny to spend some time in the field with him. The trip had a waiting list.

    Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds

    David was extremely well-received and there was a line at the book-signing table during both the registration period and the dinner break.  David was very gracious in signing books during the dinner break and signed copies that people attending the event had brought with them (rather than bought at the event!).  Everyone who wanted David to sign a copy was accommodated.  David was the last to leave the lecture hall at the end of the event and therefore gave time to people who were keen to meet with him. We have run this event annually since 1997 and this was the largest attendance we have had.

    Patrick Osborne, University of Missouri St. Louis

    Praise for The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition

    Undoubtedly the finest guide to North American birds.

    Guy McCaskie, Birding

    His paintings manage the neat trick of being both evocative and accurate; the telling details are clearly articulated.

    The New York Times Book Review
  • Books by David Allen Sibley

  • Media About David Allen Sibley

Request Fees
and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • David Allen Sibley travels from Massachusetts

Similar Speakers

Paul Greenberg

James Beard Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood

Lauren Redniss

MacArthur Fellow, visual journalist, author, and artist

Carl Zimmer

New York Times columnist and award-winning science journalist