Britain’s Birds: An Identification Guide to the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland
As walkers, hikers, climbers and leaders we spend a huge amount of our time out and about in nature. For many of us there is great pleasure to be found in seeing, identifying and learning about the vast array of fauna and flora we encounter while outside.
There are officially 628 species of bird in the UK living in a variety of habitats. And even if we don’t we pay them much attention they are there watching us, and going about their business. often within feet of our homes. And of course they are out there in the hills where the Skylarks are singing their trills and complex melodies, the Kestrels are hovering with intent and the Curlews are crying their strange cries.
So how do we begin to identify them? I’ve tried a few books over the years and while they were mostly pretty good but this book published by Princeton Press in their Wild Guides series really stands out.
It’s a fat book and densely packed with information. It measures 5.88 x 8.25 inches and two inches thick. It has 576 pages and a staggering 3,591 colour photographs.
Here is the publishers summery…
- Provides comprehensive coverage of all the birds ever recorded in Britain and Ireland
- Describes and illustrates all plumages likely to be encountered
- Features more than 3,200 stunning photographs carefully selected to show the birds as you really see them
- Outlines simple steps to help you identify any bird you see
- Presents simple and accurate comparisons of similar and difficult species
The first thing you notice is both the quality and quantity of the photographs. Every page is packed with high quality images of every bird ever seen in Great Britain and Ireland. Every bird is captured from a variety of angles and even shows the plumage changes as the bird ages. They are pages that show photos of all the different types of bird together. The section on birds of prey is particularly good with separate pages showing multiple pictures of Eagles, Kites, Buzzards, Falcons, Harriers and Hawks in flight.
The only downside is that you would be unlikely to want to carry this heavy book around with you on the hills or mountains. Luckily Princeton Press also print a British Birds Pocket Guide which still uses the same photo rich design but is slimed down to 272 pages.
A gloriously fat book bursting with information. Brilliantly designed which as a well as acting as a reference book is also great for browsing. I’ve actually found the book very inspiring and it’s definitely encouraged me to pay more attention to the birds I see while I’m out and about.
You can buy Britain’s Birds direct from the Princeton Press website. If you sign up to their newsletter you can receive 30% off your first order.
For other book recommendations visit the Beyond the Edge Bookshop.
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in the Peak District, easily reached by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the Peak District National Park which has some of the finest rock climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.