on 19 May 2014
This book has added depth to my birdwatching. I am new to this hobby (18 months) so it may not be appropriate for more established birders. Whilst not a comprehensive guide book for all the birds in Britain, there are excellent descriptions with photographs of the garden birds and more besides. 60 species are covered including cuckoo, tawny owls, pied wagtail, field fare, flycatchers, tree creepers etc ( a few of the many I haven't seen in my garden,)
In addition to a species description which includes the identification, shape and character, voice, habitual, feeding, breeding, migration and abundance; each species has a 'confidential report' which has a host of revelations about the species. For example Couzens mentions that blue tits have plumage in the cap/crest in the uv spectrum, upon which females select males.(So while to us humans, there is no difference between male and females blue tits, to birds with uv vision, blue tits are sexually dimorphic- helps me understand how birds recognise individuals!). I've learnt that while jackdaws are monogamous (and the reason why) and that the genetic make up of chicks in rookeries is any bodies guess. I could go on and on ....
Before the book, birds were visually aesthetic and interesting to watch.
Now, I look at them in a different light understanding what they do and why, and their little secrets. This book has enriched my birdwatching. Thank you Dominic Couzens
on 30 March 2016
Superb book, full of excellent photographs drawings and details. Purchased for my seven year old granddaughter so some of the information contained will possibly lead to awkward questions for her parents if she reads all the text. Would suggest that the 'sex information' is the only thing to take into consideration if you are looking to purchase this for children, it is not graphic but it seems some birds do have some strange behaviour on this front.