Regular visitors to the blog will know I usually review works of fiction. But I also do this for nonfiction, when I think it’ll be useful for readers. My recent move to the Forest of Dean has meant I’ve discovered species of bird unknown to me, so I bought this book to help my wife and I identify them. It’s a useful guide. The review is below.
Moving to the Forest of Dean has brought me into contact with new bird species, so I needed a manual to identify those that were strange to me. I already have a general natural history guide to the UK, but it’s rather cumbersome and not the easiest volume to consult.
The aspect of the Collins guide that I most appreciate is the placement of the photographs of the birds on the page opposite the data. This prevents the need to be constantly flicking from text to the page containing illustrations and makes the book very user friendly. It’s also just about small enough to take out on walking trips, though its weight is a factor since it’s printed on good quality paper!
There’s all the information a casual bird spotter could want. The birds are grouped by type and small graphs give details of periodic incidence. Colour coded maps indicate where they are likely to be found in the country. And the text presents additional details of plumage and habit. The photographs aid identification with illustrations of both genders, where necessary, and of juveniles and birds in flight, where this will help.
It’s a good practical guide and will get a lot of use over the seasons. A useful and well presented work of reference.