Britain's Birds (cover)

Britain's Birds: an Identification Guide to the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland

Rob Hume, Robert Still, Andy Swash, Hugh Harrop & David Tipling
Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ) & Oxford 2020 (2020)
ISBN: 9780691199795

This bird ID guide covers 631 species and includes birds recorded in Britain and Ireland. It is incredibly comprehensive and has a plentiful amount of glossy, detailed photographs which show all the plumages you are likely to see for both common and rare birds. The layout is practical and user-friendly which makes it easy to use and compare species.

Emma Turner (cover)

Emma Turner : a life looking at birds

James Parry & Jeremy Greenwood
Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists' Society, Norwich 2020
ISBN: 9781916253711

Emma Turner was a pioneer: one of the early bird ringers; one of the early bird photographers; one of the first 15 woman fellows of the Linnean Society (January 1905) and one of the first four female members of the British Ornithologists’ Union (May 1910). All this when women were considered very much to be second class citizens. It is noted in this book however that there is no indication that Emma Turner played any significant part, indeed any part, in the campaign for women’s rights which was going on in the early 20th Century.

Atlas of the Mammals of Great Britain and Norther Irelend (cover)

Atlas of the Mammals of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Derek Crawley, Frazer Coomber, Laura Kubasiewicz, Colin Harrower, Peter Evans, James Waggitt, Bethany Smith & Fiona Matthews
Pelagic Publishing, Exeter 2020
ISBN: 9781784272043

This is the first national Mammal Atlas to be published since 1993 (Atlas of Mammals in Britain by Henry Arnold) and documents changes in recorded distribution between 1960 and 2016. It is aimed as an essential reference for ecological consultants wishing to know which species of protected mammals could potentially be affected by a development in a particular area.

Moult and Ageing of European Passerines 2nd edition (cover)

Moult and Ageing of European Passerines

Lukas Jenni & Raffael Winkler
Helm, London 2020 (2020)
ISBN: 9781472941510

Moult is a pivotal stage in the annual cycle of all birds and understanding the effect of moult strategy on plumage is an essential tool for ageing birds in the field for birdwatchers and ringers alike.

Is That A Bat (cover)

Is That a Bat? A Guide to Non-Bat Sounds Encountered during Bat Surveys

Neil Middleton
Pelagic Press, Exeter 2020
ISBN: 9781784271978

There has been some ground-breaking development in bat detector technology in recent years, such as the Audiomoth and Echometer Touch, reviewed in BTO News, Spring 2018, which have enabled a much wider audience of non-bat specialists to become interested in bat sound identification. Newcomers to this are supported by a Facebook page ‘Bat Call Sound Analysis Workshop’ which was set up by Rich Flight for anyone to be able to receive comments from the wider bat community on sound recordings, and by two excellent books published by Pelagic Publishing.

The Effects of Climate Change on Birds (cover)

Effects of Climate Change on Birds

Peter O. Dunn & Anders Pape Møller
Oxford University Press, Oxford 2019 (2019)
ISBN: 9780198824275

Since the publication of the first edition of this edited volume 10 years ago, we have all grown in our awareness of the twin biodiversity and climate crises that the planet faces. There is building evidence that the climate is changing, and of its impact on biodiversity, of which the literature on birds is a significant component. The authors start their book with an assessment that more than 11,400 papers have been published on the subject of climate change and birds, of which two thirds have been published since 2010.

An Indifference of Birds (cover)

An Indifference of Birds

Richard Smyth
Uniformbooks, Axminster 2020
ISBN: 9781910010228

In this brilliant book, Smyth shines a light on the relationship between birds and humans. In particular, on the roles we have played, and continue to play, in bird lives and histories. In doing so, he gently challenges mainstream narratives in modern-day conservation, prompting the reader to examine their own notions of value and motivation. Smyth looks at the various ways in which we have given to and taken from birds, tipped the balances to favour some birds to the detriment of others. Ideas such as shifting baselines, re-introduction and naturalness are explored and teased out.

Wildlife Disease Ecology (cover)

Wildlife Disease Ecology: Linking Theory to Data and Application

Kenneth Wilson, Andy Fenton & Dan Tompkins (eds.)
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2019
ISBN: 9781107136564

Zoonotic diseases (those that infect humans but which originate in populations of wild animals), especially novel ones, sometimes receive quite high profile, e.g. avian influenza, Ebola and, more recently, coronaviruses.
The study of disease in wild animals, though, is something of a ‘Cinderella’ subject and this book does a valuable service in bringing together a wide range of case-studies, from carnations through to American buffalo, to show what a fertile area it is.

Birds of Bhutan & Eastern Himalayas (cover)

Birds of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas

Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp & Sherub
Helm, London 2019 (2019)
ISBN: 9781472941886

The original Birds of Bhutan published by Helm in 1999 was the first field guide to the avifauna of this Himalayan nation; the new work however, is not simply just a second edition but has been extended to include the neighbouring Indian states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and also adds the renowned Bhutanese bird expert Sherub as a fourth author.

Britain's Day Flying Moths (cover)

Britain's Day-Flying Moths: a Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Great Britain and Ireland

David Newland, Robert Still & Andy Swash
Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ) & Oxford 2019 (2019)
ISBN: 9780691197289

Mention of a day-flying moth to many people will receive a reaction akin to ‘Don’t you mean a butterfly?’ However, as mentioned in WildGuide’s Britain’s Day-flying Moths the number of moth species which are most active in the day (158 covered in the book) comfortably doubles the number of our butterflies (71 species including migrants). The differences between moths and butterflies are included here, along with the book’s definition of day-flying which encompasses those species which are easily disturbed in the day and are likely to be encountered in flight.  

The Consequences of Finding Daniel Morgan (cover)

The Consequences of Finding Daniel Morgan

Peter J Robinson
Matador, Kibworth Beauchamp 2019
ISBN: 9781838590536

A thriller surrounding illegal wildlife trade, focusing on tropical birds and remote locations, is certainly a new find in the ornithological section of the library. Robinson’s crime novel is a welcome new genre, and I was excited to get tucked into what was bound to be an exciting read.

Eagle Owl (cover)

The Eagle Owl

Vincenzo Penteriani & María del Mar Delgado
T & AD Poyser, London 2019
ISBN: 9781472900661

For clarity, the subject here is the Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo. The authors have studied this bird for more than 30 years in Finland, France, Spain and Italy and are exceptionally qualified to give it the Poyser-style treatment.

Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria (cover)

Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria

Dave Gosney
Easybirder, Sheffield 2019
ISBN: 9781907316593

If you’ve used a ‘Gosney guide’ in the past, then you will be familiar with the format. There is a general introduction to the area but the book is a site guide. The site is described on the left page, and there is a beautifully hand-drawn map on the right. At first glance, you think the maps make no sense at all, but when you are at the site, and read in conjunction with the text, it all makes sense! This guide was published in August, just before I went on a family holiday to Eastern Bulgaria in late August, staying near Cape Kaliakra.

Madeira (cover)

Madeira, Portugal

Dirk Hilbers & Kees Woutersen
Crossbill Guides Foundation, Arnhem 2019
ISBN: 9789491648175

To those familiar with Crossbill Guides, the appealing and accessible layout of the Madeira edition will come as no surprise. It is packed with information that is clearly presented, and complimented with well-chosen and often eye-catching images of the island’s scenery and wildlife. Although it is nearly 20 years since my wife and I visited Madeira on our honeymoon, this guide instantly transported me back to vertiginous levada walks, lush valleys, a seabird-filled ferry crossing to Porto Santo and some memorable observations of the endemic birds.

Wintering: A Season with Geese (cover)

Wintering: a Season with Geese

Stephen Rutt
Elliott and Thompson, London 2019
ISBN: 9781783964543

This is not a long book, but its conciseness is its strength. By the end, you have spent time with each of our native wintering geese species, but a short enough period to be left with the essence of each.

One chapter is dedicated to each of our wintering species (or two, in the case of the most recent taxonomic wrangling of the Bean Geese). Each chapter deftly combines facts with personal anecdote. I learned something new about geese in every one.