I finally have time to invest in birdwatching and I feel really overwhelmed by all the books available. I used to own a flower delivery store in Belgium, but recently relocated near London. What would be the best books to get started, to help me identify the birds of the region? I'm looking for something really practical, a tool that might help me progress.Thank you for your timeRupert
Hello Welcome to the UK and to this wonderful RSPB,which has a mine on information,
and also all the wealth of honest good reliable information from our Regular Members.
Before someone replies with maybe their own personal choices,
HERE is the link , for Books from RSPB
For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides, binoculars, scopes, tripods, etc - put 'Birding Tips' into the search box
"a tool that might help me progress".
It depends a great deal on how you see things, Rupert. Lot's of people seem to search the Internet for photos. Others use books. My partner looks at the illustrations; I read the text too.
I'd agree with Robbo and with Seymouraves (both very knowledgable): Svensson et al. is the best. The layout is also the same across languges (or at least in the English, French, Italian, and German versions), which makes it easier to confer with other (non-English) enthusiasts.
It's available for iPhone and Android (I have the Android version) and is getting better over time. And the smartphone version has some audio too.
Pick up (almost) anything you can second hand. Illustrated books (as opposed to photo guides) can be mixed. And as good as Svensson et al. is, I personally don't think it does a good job for, say, Black Kites. Anything published by Helm is worth buying. Some guides take the approach of helping you decide between similar species (I've a second-hand Macmillan guide (Harris et al.) that does this. And if you ever find a second-hand copy of Birds by Character, snap it up.
(And/) Or... come on this community and ask. There's a wealth of knowledge here, and most of the time it's delivered in a helpful and friendly manner.
My journey has been: RSPB forums, then Svensson et al. Then more specialist books, particularly for raptors.
Then, look really hard, and at every opportunity, at birds you know. When you know them really well, your brain and eye (the best tools around) will tell you when it's time to take an even closer look.
All the best -
In reply to seymouraves:
seymouraves said:50% of them are labelled incorrectly
A very good point.
Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can
The RSPB books are good. However, one I've found to be very clear in my early days is the Collins Complete Guide to British Wildlife, it has very clear photos to aid identification.
In later days and currently, I use the RSPB Handbook of British Birds and also DK Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain books.
The DK Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain will list not just the bird/species you're trying to ID, but others that are similar, which I find helps to determine identification.
I'll also endorse the internet warning issued, many are mislabelled and many images are questionable, so if you use online information, use trusted sites like the RSPB, and other organisations like the Woodland Trust, Wildlife and Wetland organisations, National Trust for more accurate information.
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