A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe (Peterson Field Guides) Paperback – 15 Dec 2001
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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."
"An indispensable aid to anyone travelling in Britain and Europe who is interested in birds."
An authoritative, pocketable, generously illustrated, simply written book. They have done their work excellently."
"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."
For clarity and speed, it has not been bettered."
Top customer reviews
I have an older version of this actual book and it is an ever-present in the car. Needed one for the house.
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.
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.
Both books are pan-European in coverage, but Svensson does have some added value for birders in Scandinavia, with more prominent illustrations of the local races of birds that are especially characteristic of this region--just as Peterson has added value for birders in the British Isles, who are likelier to encounter the British races of many species to which Peterson gives pride of place in his plates.
In sum, I would say that you really cannot go wrong with Peterson as your primary or indeed only European bird book--and certainly not if you live in Britain. This guide has won its place in my heart and my field bag.
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