Birds & Birdwatching Books
Learn all about 80 of the most common species of bird with this witty and informative book. It's suitable for both birdwatching beginners and nature enthusiasts.
- RRP £12.99
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Illustrated and written in a friendly style, the descriptions of each bird describe what makes them unique and tell you what to look for - whether in your back garden or in the wider countryside. This book is packed with facts that will fascinate non-birders and birders alike.
The birds are ordered into broad and straightforward groups (Woodlands, Parks and Gardens, Farmland and Wild Spaces, Birds of Prey, Seabirds etc) and the text explains why each is so significant. This book will also help you recognise when you've seen something rare or out of the ordinary.
Find out all the best places to see our feathered friends with the Top 100 Birding Sites of the World.
- RRP £25.00
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Covering sites across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, North and South America and Antarctica, the gorgeous hardback features first-hand accounts, fascinating information and absolutely stunning photography.
Awe-inspiring, the coffee table book also features some of the world's best avian spectacles such as the Snow Goose 'blizzard' that takes place in Bosque del Apache and the swarms of Lesser Flamingos on Africa's Rift Valley Lakes.
Quite simply, a must-have for any birdwatcher.
This is a gorgeous gift book full of award-winning artist Hannah Dale's illustrations of adorable baby birds and animals.
- RRP £11.99
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Quirky and full of character, it features everything from fluffy ducklings to fox cubs and every design is accompanied by insightful text about the animal's character.
Anyone who loves wildlife will be delighted to receive this wonderful book.
A classic memoir about the bond between man and animal, this edition of T. H. White's The Goshawk includes a foreword from H is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald.
- RRP £12.99
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First published in 1951, the book finds White describing the struggles (and enjoyment) he experienced while trying to train a wild goshawk, a notoriously difficult bird. With no training and only a few out-of-date books on falconry to guide him, he set about trying to bend the will of Gos to his own.
Suffering setback after setback, White found himself becoming more and more attached to his new animal friend and together he believed they could soar.
Birdsong is the soundtrack to our world. Wherever we go, it always seems to be there - it's woven into our culture, emotions and landscape.
- RRP £14.99
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In A Sweet, Wild Note, nature writer Richard Smyth asks why we love birdsong so much and explores the various ways it has influenced literature, music and science. He even discusses how it has affected our feelings of what it means to be British.
With birdsong growing increasingly quieter, this book provides a celebration of the complex relationship between birds, people and land. Smyth also reveals how our thoughts on birdsong say as much about us as they do about our feathered friends.
The only guide that shows British birds at their actual size, Collins: Life-Size Birds is an essential read for anyone who wants to get closer to our feathered friends.
- RRP £25.00
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With gloriously detailed photographs, the contemporary artwork will show you the intricate details of every bird. At least one image for every bird (or its head and bill in larger cases) is shown in glorious life-sized artwork. This gives you the chance to note down identification features and see a bird in its typical posture.
Plumage and structural features are also featured and there is information about a bird's habits and behaviour. A fact file covers some of the key details for every species, including their length, wingspan, habitat, food, status and voice.
Swooping in after the success of Owls and Our Garden Birds, ornithologist and illustrator Matt Sewell now turns his attention to penguins and other sea birds.
- RRP £10.00
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Matt's beautiful drawings are accompanied by profiles of each of these magnificent, feathered friends. From emperor penguins to guillemots and brown skuas to puffins, this is a lovely little guide for people who love birds and those who want to learn more about the birds who soar over (and on/in) the sea.
Following on from its hugely successful launch in 1999, Collins Bird Guide -- the ultimate reference book for bird enthusiasts -- now enters its second edition. With expanded text and additional colour illustrations, the second edition of the hugely successful Collins Bird Guide is a must for every birdwatcher. The book provides all the information needed to identify any species at any time of the year, covering size, habitat, range, identification and voice. Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and illustrations showing the species in all the major plumages (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding: whatever is important). In addition, each group of birds includes an introduction which covers the major problems involved in identifying or observing them: how to organise a sea watching trip, how to separate birds of prey in flight, which duck hybrids can be confused with which main species. These and many other common birdwatching questions are answered. The combination of definitive text, up-to-date distribution maps and superb illustrations, all in a single volume, makes this book the ultimate field guide, essential on every bookshelf and birdwatching trip.
- RRP £19.99
- Save £4.00
Following on from its hugely successful launch in 1999, Collins Bird Guide -- the ultimate reference book for bird enthusiasts -- now enters its second edition. With expanded text and additional colour illustrations, the second edition of the hugely successful Collins Bird Guide is a must for every birdwatcher. The book provides all the information needed to identify any species at any time of the year, covering size, habitat, range, identification and voice. Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and illustrations showing the species in all the major plumages (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding: whatever is important). In addition, each group of birds includes an introduction which covers the major problems involved in identifying or observing them: how to organise a sea watching trip, how to separate birds of prey in flight, which duck hybrids can be confused with which main species. These and many other common birdwatching questions are answered.The combination of definitive text, up-to-date distribution maps and superb illustrations, all in a single volume, makes this book the ultimate field guide, essential on every bookshelf and birdwatching trip.
- RRP £30.00
- Save £6.00
On Valentine's Day 1985, biologist Stacey O'Brien met a four-day-old baby barn owl - a fateful encounter that would turn into an astonishing 19-year saga. With nerve damage in one wing, the owlet had no hope of surviving on his own in the wild. O'Brien, then a young assistant in the owl laboratory at Caltech, was immediately smitten, promising to care for the helpless owlet and give him a permanent home. Wesley is the funny, poignant story of their dramatic two decades together. As Wesley grew, O'Brien snapped photos of him at every stage, recording his life from a helpless ball of fuzz to a playful, clumsy adolescent to a gorgeous, gold-and-white, adult owl with a heart-shaped face and an outsize personality that belied his 18-inch stature. When O'Brien develops her own life-threatening illness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal. "Wesley" is a thoroughly engaging, heart-warming, often funny story of a complex, emotional, non-human being capable of reason, play, and, most important, love and loyalty.
- RRP £8.99
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For generations, people in the countryside have kept chickens, mainly for the eggs. Now, more and more people, in town as well as countryside, are enjoying the pleasure of keeping hens in the garden and reaping the reward of those fresh eggs every day. Virginia Shirt has lived with chickens for over 15 years so her knowledge of these fascinating birds is conditioned by practical experience. Her book is a revelation to every aspiring enthusiast. Concentrating initially on the very first steps, the book goes on to deal with feeding and rearing chickens and comprehensively covers matters relating to health and disease.
- RRP £7.99
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This book, the latest innovative "Haynes Manual", will provide a complete and easy-to-understand reference for the growing band of people wishing to keep their own chickens for both food and pleasure. Pitched at the novice but also containing plenty to interest the experienced chicken-keeper, the book will contain no-nonsense advice, tips, facts and step-by step sequences, as well as plenty of relevant photographs and diagrams. As more people keep chickens nowadays than at any time since the Second World War, this book is a timely addition to the "Haynes" range.
- RRP £22.99
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This book is a celebration of British raptors, with 200 stunning colour photographs. An authoritative text examines the biology and ecology of each species, following their fortunes as British breeding birds from historical times to the present day. This book will serve as a showcase of these fabulous birds and highlight the diverse work of the RSPB in ensuring their survival.
- RRP £25.00
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For thousands of years people have been fascinated by birds, and today that fascination is still growing. In 2007 bird-watching is one of the most popular pastimes, not just in Britain, but throughout the world, and the range of interest runs from the specialist to the beginner. In The Wisdom of Birds, Birkhead takes the reader on a journey that not only tells us about the extraordinary lives of birds - from conception and egg, through territory and song, to migration and fully fledged breeder - but also shows how, over centuries, we have overcome superstition and untested 'truths' to know what we know, and how recent some of that knowledge is. It was only in the nineteenth century that the ancient belief that swallows hibernated under water (!) finally gave way to general acceptance of the facts of migration. In the same century of dazzling experimental science, even Darwin chose not to dwell on the sexual promiscuity of female birds to spare the blushes of his daughter, who was helping to correct the proofs of The Descent of Man. Conceived for a general audience, and illustrated throughout with more than 100 exquisitely beautiful illustrations, many of them rarely, if ever, seen before, The Wisdom of Birds is a book full of stories, knowledge and unexpected revelations.
- RRP £20.00
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The beauty and drama of the bird world brought to breathtaking life in a new edition. From hummingbirds weighing less than a coin to monkey-eating eagles, this is a unique celebration of birds, photographed and studied in their natural environments around the world. Explore the complete bird story: from their origins to up-to-date information on flight, anatomy, feeding, communication, breeding, habitat, migrations and life cycles. Spectacular features on the most impressive birds, plus a huge catalogue that profiles nearly fifteen hundred different species makes this a must-have for every bird enthusiast. This title is published with Birdlife International, the world's leading avian authority.
- RRP £19.99
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This is a new and fully updated edition of this popular title. Essentially a beginner's field guide to British and Irish Birds, this is a must-have book for any birder coming to grips with the 200 or so most common species to be found in these countries. Written in Bill's inimitable style, the book enables even the most inexperienced birdwatcher to clearly identify a wide variety of species. The new edition takes into account the most recent changes to the taxonomic order of bird species, includes the latest scientific bird names as well as the common names, contains numerous new pictures, and is fully updated with the latest data on species for which the status has changed since the book was first published, such as the Little Egret. Clear, realistic and accurate illustrations by several leading artists show the birds as they are actually seen in the field. A unique feature of the book is the 10-page section featuring 'confusion species'; these compare and contrast the birds that novice birders often find the most confusing.
- RRP £12.99
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Puffins are among the most instantly recognisable, iconic and well loved of birds. For many they are a highlight of the UK's summer coastline and their colourful appearance, comedy antics and approachability just add to their popularity. Several 'hotspot' are attracting high levels of interest in visits to their colonies. In spite of the high level of interest in, and appeal of, these birds there has been a surprising lack of books focused on Puffins as a species. Award-winning wildlife photographer Mark Sisson has spent several years photographing Puffins and this new book combines images that beautifully encapsulate their charm and visual appeal with an accessible text written by leading wildlife writer Dominic Couzens. The book covers the birds' life cycle, behaviour, habitats and the current and future challenges that they face, along with many surprising facts and anecdotes.
- RRP £20.00
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There are 10,500 species of bird worldwide and wherever they occur people marvel at their glorious colours and their beautiful songs. We also trap and consume birds of every kind. Yet birds have not just been good to eat. Their feathers, which keep us warm or adorn our costumes, give birds unique mastery over the heavens. Throughout history their flight has inspired the human imagination so that birds are embedded in our religions, folklore, music and arts. Vast in both scope and scale, Birds and People explores and celebrates this relationship and draws upon Mark Cocker's 40 years of observing and thinking about birds. Part natural history and part cultural study, it describes and maps the entire spectrum of our engagements with birds, drawing in themes of history, literature, art, cuisine, language, lore, politics and the environment. In the end, this is a book as much about us as it is about birds. Birds and People has been stunningly illustrated by one of Europe's best wildlife photographers, David Tipling, who has travelled in 39 countries on seven continents to produce a breathtaking and unique collection of photographs. The book is as important for its visual riches as it is for its groundbreaking content. Birds and People is also exceptional in that the author has solicited contributions from people worldwide. Personal anecdotes and stories have come from more than 650 individuals in 81 different countries. They range from university academics to Mongolian eagle hunters, and from Amerindian shamans to some of the most celebrated writers of our age. The sheer multitude of voices in this global chorus means that Birds and People is both a source book on why we cherish birds and a powerful testament to their importance for all humanity.
- RRP £40.00
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Known as heralds of spring and beautiful, elegant flyers, swallows are among the most beloved of familiar birds. Because they return with the spring, swallows have long been associated with the renewal of life, love, fidelity and fertility, while their ability to travel incredible distances has given them associations with freedom and speed. That freedom, however, hasn't kept them from becoming familiar figures in villages and towns. Unlike many animals, these birds have benefited from their close relationship with humans. They often appear to seek out our company; barn swallows have taken advantage of our buildings to make new nesting sites and purple martins use backyard nest boxes. However, as we encroach on their natural habitat, some swallow populations have dwindled to the point of extinction. Bringing together an intriguing mixture of biology, mythology and legend, Swallow is a cultural and natural history that will delight the many fans of these popular birds.
- RRP £12.95
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In a sense this book is a garden-based autobiography of Britain's most famous birdwatcher. The main narrative covers Bill's personal relationship, not only with his present garden, which was described by the Daily Mail as "Probably the most bizarre back garden in Britain", but also with the gardens he has known throughout his life. The first was what he has called "a sink full of mud" in industrial Rochdale in the 1940s. Next came a larger garden on the edge of Birmingham which he used as a bird ringing station, sometimes helped or hindered by his granny, who often trimmed the lawn with a pair of scissors!In Tales of Ludicrous Bird Gardens there are plenty of eccentric stories about garden characters such as the 'feng shui fox', who constantly rearranged the ornaments, 'Limpy', the one-legged single-parent Great Tit, and one memorable nightmarish occasion when over 50 rats came to visit! This book is NOT an instructional guide on 'How to be a ludicrous gardener' although it may well prove inspirational to others to have a go, or to warn them on what to avoid. Bill abhors decking, large concrete patios, and above, all leaf-blowers.As well as neighbours who whinge about the parakeets! What is certain about Tales of Ludicrous Bird Gardens is that Bill's entertaining take on gardening for birds makes compelling reading.
- RRP £16.99
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This beautifully illustrated field guide enables you to easily identify the tracks and signs left by a wide variety of mammal and bird species found in Britain and Europe, covering behaviors ranging from hunting, foraging, and feeding to courtship, breeding, and nesting. Introductory chapters offer detailed drawings of footprints and tracks of large and small mammals, which are followed by sections on mammal scat, bird droppings, and the feeding signs of animals on food sources such as nuts, cones, and rose hips. The book then describes specific mammal species, providing information on size, distribution, behavior, habitat, and similar species, as well as more specific detail on tracks and scat. Distribution maps are also included. This indispensable field guide covers 175 species of mammals and birds, and features a wealth of stunning color photos and artwork throughout. * Helps you easily identify the tracks and signs of a variety of mammals and birds * Covers 175 species * Illustrated throughout with photos, drawings, and artwork * ncludes informative descriptions of mammal species along with distribution maps
Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls. The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website. * Covers all 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada* Visual quick finders help you identify warblers from any angle* Song and call finders make identification easy using a few simple questions* Uses sonograms to teach a new system of song identification that makes it easier to understand and hear differences between similar species* Detailed species accounts show multiple views with diagnostic points, direct comparisons of plumage and vocalizations with similar species, and complete aging and sexing descriptions* New aids to identification include song mnemonics and icons for undertail pattern, color impression, habitat, and behavior* Includes field exercises, flight shots, general identification strategies, and quizzes* A complete, page-by-page audio companion to all of the 1,000-plus songs and calls covered by the book is available for purchase and download from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library by using the link at www.TheWarblerGuide.com
- RRP £24.95
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Innocent. Invader. Lover. Thief. Sparrows are everywhere, in many guises. They are cherished pets, subject of elegies by Catullus and John Skelton, listed as 'pretty things' in Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book. They're grimy, urban vermin with shocking manners, so reviled that during the 1950s Mao placed them on the list of 'Four Pests' and ordered the Chinese people to kill them all. In many countries they are appallingly successful non-natives, attacking indigenous birds and ravaging ecosystems. Able to live in the Arctic and the desert, from Beijing to San Francisco, the house sparrow is the most widespread wild bird in the world. In Sparrow, award-winning science and natural history writer Kim Todd explores the complex history, biology and literary tradition of this bird that embodies the word 'common'. In literature, the New Testament claimed that not a sparrow falls without God noting it; the idea of the precious sparrow developed from Hamlet to twentieth-century gospel hymns; the bold, defiant sparrow appears in many folk and fairy tales. The author explores Old World sparrows, like the house sparrow, which can nest in a garage or in an airport, and New World sparrows, which often stake their claim to remote islands or meadows in the high Sierra. Todd looks at the nineteenth-century 'Sparrow War' in the USA - a battle over the sparrow's introduction - which set the stage for decades of discussions of invasive species. She examines the ways in which sparrows have taught us about evolution, and the recent decline of house sparrows in cities globally. This disappearance of a bird that seemed hardwired for success remains an ornithological mystery. With lush illustrations, ranging from early woodcuts and illustrated manuscripts to contemporary wildlife photography, this is the first book-length exploration of the natural and cultural history of this cheeky and ubiquitous bird.
- RRP £12.95
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What draws us to the beauty of a peacock, the flight of an eagle, or the song of a nightingale? Why are birds so significant in our lives and our sense of the world? And what do our ways of thinking about and experiencing birds tell us about ourselves? Birdscapes is a unique meditation on the variety of human responses to birds, from antiquity to today, and from casual observers to the globe-trotting "twitchers" who sometimes risk life, limb, and marriages simply to add new species to their "life lists." Drawing extensively on literature, history, philosophy, and science, Jeremy Mynott puts his own experiences as a birdwatcher in a rich cultural context. His sources range from the familiar--Thoreau, Keats, Darwin, and Audubon--to the unexpected--Benjamin Franklin, Giacomo Puccini, Oscar Wilde, and Monty Python. Just as unusual are the extensive illustrations, which explore our perceptions and representations of birds through images such as national emblems, women's hats, professional sports logos, and a Christmas biscuit tin, as well as classics of bird art. Each chapter takes up a new theme--from rarity, beauty, and sound to conservation, naming, and symbolism--and is set in a new place, as Mynott travels from his "home patch" in Suffolk, England, to his "away patch" in New York City's Central Park, as well as to Russia, Australia, and Greece. Conversational, playful, and witty, Birdscapes gently leads us to reflect on large questions about our relation to birds and the natural world. It encourages birders to see their pursuits in a broader human context--and it shows nonbirders what they may be missing.