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British Birds: A photographic guide to every common species (Collins Complete Guide)

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Photo guides are not everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no doubt that this is one of the most complete and well-researched out there.

By Mark Thomas; privately published, 2022; reviewed in BBby Kieran Lawrence ( Brit. Birds115: 744). As a child, my favourite Ladybird books were Garden Birds, Heath and Woodland Birds and Birds of Prey. The author’s illustrations imprinted themselves on my mind so that when I look at them now I have to make an effort to separate feelings of nostalgia from the impulse to formulate a critical or aesthetic response. There’s something charmingly idealised about the way different species all get along as they stand about on the lawn or perch in a bush, and there’s an extraordinary, almost occult power in the way Leigh-Pemberton renders the quality of twilight. When casting their votes, the judges paid particular attention to the ornithological impact of the titles on the shortlist. Of course, ‘ornithological impact’ can be a rather broad concept – but there’s no doubt that this book will have a substantial impact on the world of ornithology. Accordingly, the title was awarded points from all six of the BBBY judges. When discussing thoughts on the title, the term ‘not preachy’ was used on multiple occasions –and that was one of the qualities that drew the judges to this book. The positive stories and practical inspiration for how individual birders can reduce their carbon footprint while engaging in their hobby make this a readable and meaningful title, and the judges felt that this was one of the most important books published in the past 12 months.This book about vagrancy - a potentially dense and academic subject - offers something for all birders and ornithologists, from birdwatchers and rarity seekers to conservationists studying habitat loss. As a result of its wide appeal, the judges recognised this title as one of the most useful titles of 2022. An enjoyable read all round, Wild Felltouches on aspects of land management and asks questions that are relevant to nature reserves and wild areas around the country. The judges pointed out that, at a time when rewilding and wildlife-friendly land management are becoming more prevalent, this book offers a view of the situation and its many complexities that we all ought to take note of, regardless of whether we’re a wildlife-sympathetic individual who wants to learn more about the techniques used in land management or an on-the-ground conservationist who wishes to expand their knowledge. Wild Fell is the story of conservation and rewilding from the inside, detailing the author's journey through managing a nature reserve in the Lake District.

By Peter Adriaens, Mars Muusse, Philippe J. Dubois and Frédéric Jiguet; Princeton University Press, 2021; reviewed in BBby Brian Small ( Brit. Birds115: 177–178) and for BTO by Fionnuala McCully.

A wonderfully diverse collection of first-hand views and experiences of low-carbon birding that encourages all of us to rethink how we value and engage with the world around us." Well thought out and structured to assist the reader. . . . another one of the top quality bargain books we have come to expect from Princeton's WildGuides series."—Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog Another release in the highly popular WILDGuides series, this title takes the approach of its predecessor Britain’s Birds but expands its cover across Europe. The panel felt that considerable work has gone into selecting a wide range of images, so that variation in plumage and different postures are shown clearly for each species.

This year, Hazel McCambridge, Maria Farooqi and Jenna Woodford represented BTO on the judging panel, while Paul French, Sarah Harris and Stephen Menzie represented British Birds. An initial vote from each of the judges determined the shortlist. The final vote took place in mid December, with the usual lively discussion and debate between the judges before they cast their votes to determine the winning title.By Iain D. Campbell, Ken Behrens, Charley Hesse and Phil Chaon; Princeton University Press, 2021; reviewed in BBby Stephen Menzie ( Brit. Birds115: 537–538). The prestigious Best Bird Book of the Year award is open to all books reviewed by BTO and British Birds in the year of consideration. Entries range from identification guides and ornithological science to culture and art, and are judged by a diverse panel from BTO and British Birds. Thompson writes novels that combine elements of fable, mystery fiction, fairytale and the uncanny. In The Falconer, a young woman takes a secretarial position in a remote Scottish manor house in the 1930s, determined to find out what happened to her predecessor, her late sister. It’s the dreamlike quality of this novel that places it just ahead of Barry Hines’s A Kestrel for a Knave among my favourite fictions about falconers.

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