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The Observer's Book of Birds Hardcover – 25 Apr 1992


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Godfrey Cave Associates Ltd; Revised edition edition (25 April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854710087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854710086
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.5 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,791 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

Synopsis

One of a series of pocket-sized reference books. This title covers birds.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Kidger on 16 Aug 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a youngster there were always a whole bunch of "Observer's Book of..." books around the house. They were essential reference works to a whole range of subjects, comprehensive, but in a handy format that was genuinely pocket-sized. Those that had not been purchased were often borrowed, as required, from the local library. Beautifully illustrated, although slightly frustratingly, a significant fraction of the images are black and white, I spent hours watching birds in he garden using this book to identify them. The format is perfect: one page per bird, an image and an excellent descriptive text underneath. Over the years I have become frustrated by not being able to identify many of the birds that appear outside my office window so, remembering the Observers Book of Birds, I was lucky enough to find this 1966 re-printing of the 1965 version. It is all that I remembered it to be and has its place on the office window sill.
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By fwade on 24 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I mistakenly remembered the book having some reference s to the identification of birds eggs. Was this another observer boo k (50 years ago!!). Despite this the book is perfect for slipping in a pocket on a walk ready for the 'spot' of the moment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a bird book, I found it rather very limited, but it was very cheap so you can't complain.
Saying that there are some excellent books on the same subject for very little additional expense.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Can't explain the pleasure from re owning this book again. My child hood is completed. I am in my fifties
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By Wuffles on 18 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These are lovely little books, see a bird pick up the book and there it is, colour, eating habits and nests types not forgetting the eggs
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By John Young on 22 Aug 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exactly what you expect from this publisher but it is quite difficult for the beginner to identify an unusual species
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By mave on 25 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
thank you ,handy little book . We've had one for years but it finally fell apart,so glad we could still buy one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As with all Oserver books, this is a simple guide to the most common birds you may see. A compact book which is easy to use.
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