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Really pleased with this book. Obviously comparisons will be made with the Collins Bird Guide which has been my "Go-To" for a long time, but I always felt that if a guide using photographs could be made, it would have the immediate advantage of appearing as what you see through binoculars or a scope. In the past, valiant attempts have been made and although interesting, lacked much of the information required in the field such as juveniles or moult stages and were just pretty pictures of coffee table interest. This beast (it is a hefty tome) just gets it right on so many levels. Physically bigger than the Collins, but the typeface is easier to read, the 560 pages over the 448 of the Collins and the fact that it covers Britain's Birds rather than Europe, has meant it "breathes" on the page and each bird has sufficient room to enable distinguishing features to be set amongst the main photos. The text is generally conversational, like having a knowledgable friend giving you identification tips, although technical language is used where appropriate. It is up to date (to end of March 2016), it has really good maps, conservation status, British & Irish lists and legislation. I can't fault it. I usually prefer a hardback for durability but this is well stitched and folds flat without any stressing. One to get.
An excellent book. In my opinion the best bird identification book out there, the pictures & the layout are better than any other bird book iv looked at, the book is well made, a bit heavy but no heavier than my other books of similar size & can easily be carried in a small day pack for use in the field, iv taken mine out several times a week since i purchased it in February this year & unlike some outer books the pages are not comming away. An excellent book, if you go bird watching no matter how experienced this is a book to have.
If you want a bird identification guide which uses photographs rather than paintings, then I would certainly recommend this excellent and beautiful book.
Personally, I prefer a book with paintings, because the artist can create a “composite bird”, highlighting the key identifying features of a species.
Nevertheless, I bought this book for two reasons: firstly, as an alternative and “back-up” for identification purposes; and secondly, for the aesthetic pleasure of browsing through the beautiful photographs. The book is excellent for both of these purposes.
However, I have to say that this book will not replace “The RSPB Handbook of British Birds” as my number one book for British birds. The reason for this is that the book reviewed here only contains brief information about each bird’s habitat, population and distribution.
The RSPB Handbook, on the other hand, is much more than just an identification guide. It also contains information on habitat, habits, food, breeding behaviour, distribution, movements, migration, population and conservation. So if you want to know something about the lives of the birds you are identifying and enjoying, then the RSPB Handbook is the one to get.
I must also mention one other fault with “Britain’s Birds”. I looked to see what population figures it gave for two of my favourite birds: Kestrels and Buzzards. It gives figures of 58,000 pairs for the Kestrel and 40,500 pairs for the Buzzard. I’m sure that these figures are out-of-date and incorrect.
Statistics produced by both the RSPB and the BTO show that Buzzard numbers have recovered over the last ten years, but that Kestrel numbers have declined, making the Buzzard now the most numerous UK bird of prey. Both RSPB and BTO give figures of less than 50,000 pairs for the Kestrel, and somewhere between 57,000 and 79,000 pairs for the Buzzard.
It’s disappointing that this book, which was only published last year, could not get these facts right. But the book is still worth four stars – and the photos are worth five.
Haven't put this down since in came through the door. Quality guide throughout as far as I'm concerned. As always with bird guides there will be those that don't like it for one reason or another. For me it's up there with the best guides currently on the market. Will by another for the car!
I don't think that there will ever be the perfect bird identification guide and I tend to use several because they all have their blind spots or more fairly, limits due to volume restrictions. However, this is the one I carry and use the most. The large identification photographs are a real bonus and it doesn't over or underwhelm with text. The other guides that I like that I think complement it are, The Crossley ID Guide Britain & Ireland by Richard Crossley and Dominic Couzens, also published by Princeton, which is particularly good on seasonal plumage differences and juveniles/immature bird stages, the rspb Birds of Britain and Europe (The Definitive Photographic Field Guide) by Bob Hume, published by DK and the very convenient rspb pocket Birds of Britain and Europe by Jonathan Elphick and John Woodward, also published by DK. I like to carry the latter pocket book on more casual occasions or simply when I don't want to carry weight. Weight and size is the only down side of the book under review, since you either need large and strong pockets to carry it around with you or carry bag.
I purchased this book as a gift for my 'Birder' wife, she is impressed with the very clear illustrations and descriptions. She took it with her recently to the New Forest with her only comment being; that it is a bit heavy to carry around together with the binoculars. Perhaps it is more suited to keep in the car or, in the bookcase. Thoroughly recommend this publication.
Excellent quality book, it makes a great bookshelf reference guide. It's too big and heavy for a field guide.
The binding, paper and print quality are top notch. The excellent photographs make it very easy to identify birds, adult & juvenile plumage and in flight. Theres a distribution map with migratory routes and conservation notes. It has British birds with rare visitors included, it's not bogged down with all of the european birds.
This is the only book that would replace my Collins guide, if I had to choose a single book I'd have this one. It's also worth every penny and more. I can't believe how good it is for the cost. LOVE IT.
I didn't look inside much, as tried to keep it as new as possible, as bought it for my daughter for Christmas. My first impression was: it's a wonderful book, well put together, informative, easy to navigate in. Later in a consecutive conversation discovered that she has got a version of it already. So, had to return. Amazon's return was easy. Thanks.
This is a fairly comprehensive identification guide. I chose this one because it has photos of the birds rather than drawings. It is heavy, so not suitable to carry around with you, but that is ok with me as I don't usually take guides out with me anyway. The cover is semi-hardback and feels good quality, although it wasn't in perfect condition when it arrived - there was a bit of damage to the cover. It should have been packed better.
An excellent addition to every birders library, lots of information on all species you can expect to see in Britain and Ireland. Nicely set out, easy to follow and just a beautiful book all round. I wouldn't like this to be my only bird book but used in conjunction with the Collins Bird Guide, the RSPB handbook and the BTO British Birds it makes a complete library, throw in Steven Moss " everything you always wanted to know about birds" and there can't be much more anyone would need to know about Birds in this country, well maybe add the birds Britannica and .......... well you get the picture. I really am delighted with this book and would recommend that any birder buy it and enjoy a different approach to a much loved subject and hobby.