Books to get started?

Hello,

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 time

Rupert

  • 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

     

  • Collins Bird Guide is the best option IMO.
  • Hi

    the best European Field Guide is the Collins Guide by Svensson /Mullarney/ Zetterstrom
    HOWEVER it covers all of Europe and N.Africa.

    Britain's Birds by Hume Tipling et al. is smaller in range and is the best Photo Guide.

    The RSPB pocket guide only covers the commonest 200 or so species in Britain and is a good beginners guide.

    The next size up is The Pocket Guide to Birds of Britain and N.W Europe which covers about 250 species.

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • Hi

    the best European Field Guide is the Collins Guide by Svensson /Mullarney/ Zetterstrom
    HOWEVER it covers all of Europe and N.Africa.

    Britain's Birds by Hume Tipling et al. is smaller in range and is the best Photo Guide.

    The RSPB pocket guide only covers the commonest 200 or so species in Britain and is a good beginners guide.

    The next size up is The Pocket Guide to Birds of Britain and N.W Europe which covers about 250 species.

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • HI-


    Put ' Birding tips #14 Field guides' into the search bar at the top of this page :)

    S

    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 -

    Dave

  • Hi

    a word of caution on internet ID photos- Kenn Kaufman was on record as saying 50% of them are labelled incorrectly:

    That was a few years back and things have got better but they still not 100%

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    seymouraves said:
    50% of them are labelled incorrectly

    A very good point.

  • I think the RSPB book is a great starting place then when you get into birding more get a copy of the Collins. Regular birders often build up a library of i.d. guides over time as they all show something a little different. Our last id guide was the Wild Guide Britain's Birds which shows ma ny different plumages and ages,bit heady for in the field but a great at home reference

    Pete

    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.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler