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A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe (Peterson Field Guides) [Paperback]

Roger Tory Peterson , Guy Mountfort , P. A. D. Hollum
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Dec 2001 Peterson Field Guides

First published 50 years ago and never out of print, this is the classic birdwatcher’s field guide

For 50 years Collins Birds of Britain and Europe has been the standard field guide, providing an concise guide to the essential features of bird recognition. This classic guide, now in its fifth edition, will be relaunched in new livery to attract a new generation of birders. The 'Peterson' guide is well-recognised for giving prominence to key identification features, so is ideal for beginners, as well as providing extensive coverage for more expert birdwatchers. In Peterson's words, 'the purpose of this field guide is to make it easier for 999 out of 1,000 readers to identify birds'.

Nearly 700 species are described in Guy Mountfort's clear, readable text, and there are over 1500 colour illustrations by Roger Tory Peterson. The maps compiled by P.A.D. Hollom show the breeding range and winter range for each species. In the case of confusable species, additional notes draw attention to their distinction from those with which they are most likely to be confused. Descriptions also include how to identify birds in flight and offers a concise introduction of what to look for when trying to distinguish different species.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company; 5 edition (15 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618166750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618166756
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Reviews of the previous editions:

'Easily the most authoritative and best illustrated pocket bird book ever published' Daily Express

'An indispensable aid to anyone travelling in Britain and Europe who is interested in brids' Country Life

'An authoritative, pocketable, generously illustrated, simply written book. They have done their work excellently' The Times

'Comprehensive and reliable. Very full, accurate texts. Good, clear illustrations, with the familiar, useful pointer system to draw attention to important features. The best field guide for use in Europe.' British Birds

'For clarity and speed, it has not been bettered' Irish Times

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

COMPREHENSIVE, EASY TO USE, HIGHLY ILLUSTRATED

For nearly forty years the 'Peterson' guide has been the standard field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, providing a concise guide to the essential features of bird recognition. This new edition has been completely reconstructed from the first page to the last: the text has been completely rewritten, all the plates have been repainted (the number has increased from 77 to 96) and reorganised and all the maps have been brought up to date. But this is not a field guide for the expert but, in the words of the artist, who is known throughout the world for his classic guides, 'the purpose of this field guide is to make it easier for 999 out of 1,000 readers to identify birds'.

Reviews of previous editions of this guide:

"Easily the most authoritative and best illustrated pocket bird book ever published."
DAILY EXPRESS

"An indispensable aid to anyone travelling in Britain and Europe who is interested in birds."
COUNTRY LIFE

An authoritative, pocketable, generously illustrated, simply written book. They have done their work excellently."
THE TIMES

"Comprehensive and reliable. Very full, accurate texts. Good, clear illustrations, with the familiar, useful pointer system to draw attention to important features. The best field guide for use in Europe."
BRITISH BIRDS

For clarity and speed, it has not been bettered."
IRISH TIMES

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned format, but the best paintings 2 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I use both this and the newer Collins guide by Lars Svensson, but when I can only take one field guide with me, I take the Peterson. His immensely skillful paintings, which I appreciate more each time I use them, still seem to be the best available at showing the significant differentiating details that actually help me to identify new birds. Peterson also didn't allow his painted birds to strike eccentric poses that can make comparison between species difficult. (The paintings by Killian Mullarney that make up half of the Svensson book give Peterson a run for his money in clarity and beauty, but the other half, by Dan Zetterstrom, do not.)
The textual descriptions in Svensson's book are longer and more helpful on behavior than those in Peterson's, so it's nice to check my observations against Svensson when I get home. But I find the Svensson guide large, heavy, and tiring to carry around compared to the more compact Peterson. Compared to Peterson, Svensson has too few birds illustrated per page (and many of them are from regions of Europe far, far away), so that flipping through the pages to find the bird you've just seen is always faster and less frustrating in Peterson. Strangely, in this regard I suppose the dated format of Peterson's guide--with all the plates bound together on glossy paper at the center of the book--is really an advantage: you can visually home in on the right bird with minimal turning of pages. Perhaps the best of all worlds would be a format more like Peterson's American field guides--which find a happy medium between the closely-packed visual conciseness of this guide and the thick sprawl of Svensson--but in the meantime I much prefer this.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not-so-bad-as-all-that guide 23 Jun 2005
Format:Hardcover
I am spurned to rate this book due to the only other review being a bit harsh in my opinion. I have been using this book (from the institute's library where I have been a student placement) for a year and found it good. The lay-out is quite normal for Collins guides, effectively arranging text and images, and maps in this case, into sections for the sake of expediency. Pictures can be browsed, without the distracting text, to find a 'match' in the field (as one does); text can then be referred to as can the maps. It also serves to keep the book to a nearly manageable size - something that I find is a problem with good ornithology field guides.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I have just started learning more about birds and was recommended Rory Tory Peterson's US Field Guides. This book brings the same detail to European birds. It gives easy to read information for the learner on identification, habitats, calls, range, etc. The colour plates show the natural position of the birds and identification indicators. Much more useful than some of the fanciful positions of birds in other guides I looked at. Having the range maps at the back allowed me to quickly build up a list of birds I could experience in my location. All fuel for my new enthusiasm. A good reference, a great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peterson a classic! 18 Jan 2007
Format:Hardcover
This was my first birdbook, and I got it almost 35 years ago. " Peterson " as it is called among birdwatches has served me well during scientific fieldwork in Lofoten islands and other locatons in the eighties and I still use it. Why? The illustrations are second to none, it's "simplicity" is clarifying, to much information ( the case in some new books, I find) can sometimes be confusing. A tru classic!, the reason for still being around I belive.

Rustan Andersson
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Wyndham
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whilst the 'Black Cover' Collins Bird Guide, now twelve years old, is rightly hailed as an excellent, beautiful book, I truly believe this book, a nineteen year old edition, still edges it. Quite simply, IT provides THE necessary information, for identification - for learning? Recognition plates from various angles, each bird is portrayed in a large, easy to see format, pointers (arrows) highlighting plumage and physical differences. Comparing similiar species I have yet to see bettered in ANY guide.
In short, I think it something of an educational masterpiece - it's just out of fashion. Quality it remains.
It remains in print, as a paperback.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too technical for the average nature-loverr? 4 Feb 2012
By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If you've previously used the 1983 Collins guide, you'll find this an improvement. However, for the casual nature enthusiast, it shares the same basic problem. Serious birdwatchers are divided into those who tick off species, and those who are devoted to watching bird behaviour in the wild. And then there are those of us who just enjoy seeing birds, and want to be able to name an unfamiliar one. I am informed that the twitcher will want something better than this, but for the rest of us it gives too much of the kind of detail we don't want, and not enough of what we do.

There are many, many birds in this book which most of us will never see. They sit side by side on the page with birds we are very likely to encounter. Distinguishing between them requires poring over technicalia which have most of us scratching our heads. Birds are shown with relative sizes, but no scale is given on the page; lengths are given in the accompanying text in inches, which the younger generation barely use. Only rarely are birds shown from more than one angle.

There is, admittedly, plenty of text on how to use the guide to identify birds, but it is geared up to those who already know quite a lot. Serious birdwatchers will probably still find it a useful addition to the shelf, and I admit I keep a copy in the car for those occasions when I see something new, but I confess I find it hard to use and it usually confuses me with too many options. A book which is better suited to use with the family - though it isn't a pocket-sized field guide - is the large format Book of British Birds (AA RSPB) - which gives more detail about behaviour and habitat and shows many images of each bird.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent gift
We already own this book and bought this copy for friends who live in France - the names of birds are given in 5 languages, which is useful for our French and Swedish friends and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
The best "old school" guide ever produced still has full value when used with the more "modern" guides ie: the latest Collins guide
Published 3 months ago by David Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you
Thank you very much. An excellent book. As I already have one, I ordered it as a present.

Anne Wilkinson. Oxford
Published 5 months ago by Mrs.A.Wilkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Britain & Europe
Collins Field Guide has come to be known affectionately as the "Peterson" guide after one of its authors. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C HARLE
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Collins Field Guide
I bought this after reading some of the positive reviews but was disappointed.
I don't find it any better than the Collins Bird Guide, if anything a bit inferior in detail. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rory
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
This is a great book.. I take it with me when i cycle to when ever I see something new
Published 14 months ago by Crazy Monster Poet
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This book was delivereed in good time and packaged well. The content is as described and will be an excellent guide to the identification of the birds we see in France. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mrs. L Monck
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Very informative, a must for every twitcher and bird enthusiast. A good addition to my collection of bird books of Europe.
Published 16 months ago by Lynette
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the pocket
Great little book to take around and about on your travels. I'm not an expert so can't confirm validity and/or scope of content, but for a 'non twitter' bird watcher it does the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Alan D.
4.0 out of 5 stars birds
book in good condition and was very cheap (1p) so good vfm. I have other books in this series and for the amateur naturalist they are all good value.
Published 22 months ago by ricardo
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