40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
nearly there, 23 Aug. 2010
Having obtained the book for my husband who is a wildlife photographer, it has been found to be a very good source of general information. The only thing that lets it down is that, when you look closely, much of the descriptive text tells very little about the subject. These is no description of nest types for most of the birds, nothing about the egg, colour, size etc.
The worst thing i found about the book, which is aimed at the everyday watcher and not the specialist, is the order of the book. I realise that it is in the general order of classification, but that order is for the specialist. Most people buying this book want to easily and quickly identify the birds in their garden or area. This book leaves garden birds tucked away to the back, the first 154 pages being dedicated to water birds then start the more popular birds followed by more water birds, then sea birds, and finally back to a few more varieties found in the garden or countryside habitats.
The book has an advantage over older books that rely on drawn pictures, but is let down by the scientific format of its structure. Older books usually kept the birds sectioned by habitat so if you wanted a bird seen in broadleafed woodland that was where you looked.
For those producing future books or revisions to this one should remember that most people who watch birds are not twitchers and scientists, and that the clasification of these birds was done at a time when new species were still being 'discovered'.
For the general public a better and more user friendly format would be to start with Garden birds, then broadleafed woodland, coniferous, open farmland, marshes, Raptors, lakes and rivers, seabirds, and finally the rearer visitors. every book i have ever seen lists the Hoopoe (which I for one have not seen in 56 years), and none have ever listed the Peacock which is present in ever increasing numbers in parks and gardens, and can now be found in the wild, and is every bit as british as the mandarin duck and other exotic birds imported from abroad and released into the wild (I noted the inclusion of the ring necked parrot which appears to have been given the same status as the Kingfisher and wryneck).
So overall, the photography is very good, the descriptions are ok as far as they go, identifying birds by nest or egg is not generally covered.
Apart from all that it is not a bad reference guide but it can be improved.