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The Pocket Guide to Birds of Prey of Britain and Europe Hardcover – 16 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (16 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845331842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845331849
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I began watching birds as a child and made my first written notes - recording a jay in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield - before my 12th birthday. It became serious after about the age of 15, with more than 2000 recorded visits to my 'local patch', Chasewater, in the first few years. South Staffordshire was my local area, including Chasewater, Cannock Chase and Blithfield Reservoir, but I watched birds farther afield especially in Essex and widely in the highlands of Scotland. I still rate as my best 'find' a Cory's shearwater at Chasewater in Staffordshire - as far from the sea as you can get - one calm, sunny day at the beginning of October, although the same location brought rarer birds, too, especially a least sandpiper.
I spent six years as a student/postgrad in Swansea, getting to know coastal birds much better, and beginning to travel in search of rarities - also visiting the Isles of Scilly in autumn. Following this I spent two years in mid Wales working for the RSPB before moving to the RSPB HQ in Sandy, Bedfordshire, at the beginning of 1978.
I still looked up Staffordshire as 'home' and still kept up my visits to Chasewater and my friendships there, with birdwatching colleagues who taught me a huge amount - and we travelled more in search of rare birds from time to time.
I also began to travel abroad more, leading RSPB wildlife holidays and then others for other organisations, visiting Spain, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Zimbabwe and East Africa, as well as Texas, the Seychelles and Iceland on RSPB related business; personal trips later added several winter visits to the Netherlands, Ireland, more visits to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel,the Canaries and Madeira, a return to Zimbabwe and various other countries from Cuba and Tobago to the USA, India and Australia. Seeing so many species abroad is exciting in itself but also adds a new perspective to those seen at home.
Gulls have always been a particular fascination, with early interests in UK yellow-legged gulls from the beginning of the 1970s (before they were really recognised as such), glaucous and Iceland gulls and Mediterranean gulls, plus ring-billed gulls from March 1973. They remain so: seeing scores of Mediterranean gulls is remarkable, now, considering how rare they once were, as well as tens/dozens of yellow-legged gulls, but searching the local roosts in Hampshire is more likely to be for Caspian gulls than glaucous or Iceland. However, I also wrote identification papers on common and arctic terns and many notes and papers in the journal 'British Birds' on subjects as varied as seabirds inland in the 1987 "hurricane", a review of the reaction of birds to rain, "herring" gulls in the West Midlands and Israel and sparrowhawk displays.
I changed my RSPB job to become editor of the youth membership magazine, 'Bird Life', commissioning artwork from the likes of the then unknown Ian Lewington, and then editor of the adult magazine, 'Birds'. This led to many more contacts with well known writers, photographers and artists as well as various personalities in and on the fringe of the conservation world. Interviews in 'Birds' ranged from Julian Pettifer and Richard Fitter (who 'invented' the field guide concept in the UK just as much as Peterson did in the USA) to David Attenborough.
At the same time I became a member of the Editorial Board of 'British Birds' and a member of the British Birds Rarities Committee, becoming Chairman for several years (and therefore also attending meetings of the BOU Records Committee in that capacity). I had already cut my teeth on record assessment and report writing in both the West Midlands and Gower.
Books came along with an Usborne guide to birds and the "prestigious" rewrite of the famous Observer's Book of Birds for Frederick Warne; then various others for an assortment of publishers, plus many articles for monthly partworks and encyclopedias. I wrote a monograph on the common tern and a behaviour guide to seabirds, and texts to accompany paintings by Terance James Bond and Trevor Boyer. The various books for Mitchell Beazley in collaboration with Peter Hayman - Mitchell Beazley pocket guides, guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Bird etc - were a highlight because of the meticulous and remarkable work by Peter Hayman (still strangely underrated but full of amazing information and brilliant paintings based on Peter's detailed researches). Bigger sellers came from Dorling Kindersley, especially the RSPB-branded photographic field guides - a revised version for 2011 promises much improvement.
I'm still working in a freelance capacity for the RSPB at times, but have now officially retired: work for DK, Reader's Digest and other publishers, plus painting and drawing, keeps me going, but I welcome more. Now living on the fringe of the New Forest, I see more birds than I have done for some years despite missing out on, for example, quick dashes to Norfolk.

Product Description

About the Author

Rob Hume has been editor of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds award-winning Birds magazine since 1989. He has written several ornithological books including Discovering Birds, Observer's Birds, and Focus on Birdwatching. He is also the author of Birdwatcher's Pocket Guide (1 85732 80 3). The Complete Guide to the Birdlife of Britain and Europe (1 85732 795 0), and The Pocket Book to Coastal Birds in Britain and Europe (1 84538 073 0) (all Mitchell Beazley) For 10 years he was a member and Chairman of the British Birds Rarities Committee that scrutinizes reports of rare birds in Britain.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are literally hundreds of bird identification books on the bookshelves and to be fair most of them are excellent, obviously some are more comprehensive than others and cater for all tastes from the casual watcher right through to the enthusiast. This particular book is more of a specialist book for the bird of prey enthusiast.

"The Pocket Guide to the Birds of Prey of Britain and Europe" explores the different families of the birds of prey, giving detailed habitat, feeding, and breeding information for each bird featured. The book goes into great detail on the individual birds which include of course hawks, owls, eagles, harriers, buzzards, vultures, falcons, shrikes and kites Organized in the nine raptor families the book is well-researched and lots of up-to-date information is given for each species, including most importantly, how to correctly identify the bird.

There is a combination of drawings and photographs. I know that some bird enthusiasts much prefer photographs, but to my way of thinking it is sometimes much easier to identify a bird from a good drawing and the drawings in this book are excellent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Terry Trout on 22 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book that does what it says on the cover. Detail throughout is good & just enough to identify types & flight patterns. Pictures & text are clear & uncluttered, allowing enough detail for what is after all a pocket size book. I was not looking for a concise backgound on each species, purely a visual indication of what is male/female recognition, which this book serves perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By philie on 25 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Liked the size and clarity and found it handy as a quick guide to look at the differences in the raptors. Found the information a bit basic but it was worth the purchase but not as comprehensive as other books.
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