By Charlie Elder | Bloomsbury Publishing | Paperback | June 2018 | 192 Pages | Colour Photos | ISBN: 9781472941176
The Publisher’s View: The Everyday Guide to British Birds is the perfect companion for nature enthusiasts and birdwatching beginners. It describes the common and widespread species that a birder is likely to come across in Britain, and what makes each of them unique.
Clearly illustrated, packed with fascinating facts and written in a friendly style, it provides the perfect no-nonsense guide for those wanting to identify and learn more about the birds they encounter, whether in their back garden or the wider countryside.
The book focuses on 80 of the most common British species, cutting down the typical field guide species list from a plethora of ‘possibles’ to a list of manageable ‘probables’.
The birds are ordered into broad and straightforward groups, not taxonomically, and the writing concentrates on the kind of facts non-birders want to share. The Everyday Guide to British Birds also gives readers a sense of each species’ significance, congratulating them on less frequent sightings and, unlike dispassionate field guides, it lets you know when you’ve seen something out of the ordinary.
The Author: Charlie Elder is a journalist. He has worked for papers ranging from the Times of Tonga in the South Pacific to the Telegraph and the Evening Standard and being chief sub-editor on the Evening Herald in Plymouth. He lives with his wife and two daughters on the edge of Dartmoor. He is well known to birders as the author of a couple of other books: Wile Flocks Last and Few and Far Between.
Fatbirder View:I admit to picking this up and thinking, ‘here we go again’ yet another unnecessary guide. But I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised to find that it fills a niche perfectly and is well produced as well as well written and illustrated. Writing is the authors bread and butter so you would expect it to flow and it does with a relaxed and extremely accessible style. The niche is the ‘not quite a birder’ market. This is well reflected in the ‘not quite a…” section on a page offering similar, possible confusion species and gently educates by pointing out why it’s not a mallard or whatever. There are literally millions of people in the UK who walk or garden and wonder whether the birds they see, that seem unfamiliar, are rare or out of place or whether they are just overlooked. They are interested enough to want to know more, but are never going to be a full on birder. Just as I might skim through a book on hoverflies seeing if I can give a name to something I just took a picture of with my phone as it settled on my daisies, there are lots of people who just like to know what’s what in the world. A word of warning, if you keep this book in your rucksack or lounge you might not just learn a little, you might get hooked!
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