The BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year 2020
22 Feb 2021 | No. 2021-04
British Birds (BB) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) announce the winner of the award for Best Bird Book of the Year 2020.
Overall, 50 books were considered for the award and this was whittled down to a shortlist of seven after the first round of voting by the six judges. The judging was held online this year, which made access to the books a bit more difficult, but each finalist received votes from at least three of the judges, showing the strength of each title.
The seven short-listed books were, Moult and Ageing of European Passerines by Lukas Jenni and Raffael Winkler, Red Sixty Seven, curated by Kit Jewitt, Uplands and Birds by Ian Newton, Cottongrass Summer by Roy Dennis, The Ring Ouzel: a view from the North Yorks Moors by Vic Fairbrother and Ken Hutchinson, The Seafarers – a journey amongst birds by Stephen Rutt, The Common Buzzard by Sean Walls and Robert Kenward.
The BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year 2020 was awarded to Moult and Ageing of European Passerines by Lukas Jenni and Raffael Winkler. The judges all agreed that this was perhaps the most specialist title on the shortlist but recognised its importance in its field and the immense amount of work involved.
Stephen Menzie, one of the BB judges said, “The book was praised for offering an informative and understandable introduction to the world of moult, while the species pages are an indispensable source of reference for ringers, old or new, and for any birders with an interest in moult and ageing. The enormous amount of work involved in putting this book together and the high quality photographs depicting different stages of moult ensure that this book is a worthy winner.”
Hazel McCambridge, one of the BTO judges said, “All of the books in the final selection were well deserved finalists and showed a variety of talent across genres; there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
For more information, please visit the BTO and British Birds websites here and here.
Paul Stancliffe (BTO Media Manager)
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Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
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Moult and Ageing of European Passerines – second edition
By Lukas Jenni and Raffael Winkler
Helm (Bloomsbury), 2020
Hbk, 322pp; colour photographs throughout
ISBN 978-1-472941-51-0; £95 (print), £102.60 (electronic)
A brand-new, completely revised second edition of Jenni and Winkler's classic guide updated and improved for the next generation of ringers and professional ornithologists.
Red Sixty Seven
Curated by Kit Jewitt
Hbk, 158pp; 67 colour plates ISBN 978-1-912642-13-7; £19.99
Red Sixty Seven is a collaboration between 67 authors and 67 artists with a single goal: to raise funds to support conservation work aiming to reverse the declines of our most at-risk birds. Contributors include Chris Packham, Ann Cleeves, Samuel West, Natalie Bennett, David Lindo, Gill Lewis, Darren Woodhead, Carry Akroyd, Jane Smith and Patrick Barkham.
Uplands and Birds
By Ian Newton
Collins (New Naturalist), 2020
598pp; many colour photographs Hbk, ISBN 978-0-00-829850-0; £64.99 Pbk, ISBN 978-0-00-829852-
The uplands of Britain are unique landscapes created by grazing animals, primarily livestock. The soils and blanket bogs of the uplands are also the largest stores of carbon in the UK, and 70% of the country’s drinking water comes from the uplands. It’s a significant region, not least to the multitudes of bird species that hunt, forage and nest there. Once again, Ian Newton demonstrates his mastery of the subject matter at hand, in this beautifully illustrated, authoritative addition to the New Naturalist series.
Cottongrass Summer: essays of a naturalist throughout the year
By Roy Dennis
ISBN 978-1912235-88-9; £9.99
A collection of vibrant essays to inform, stimulate and inspire every nature lover. Through unparallelled expertise as a field naturalist, Roy Dennis is able to write about the natural world - in a way that considers both the problems and the progress in ecology and conservation. Beginning with cottongrass, whose snow-white blooms blow gently in the wind across the wetter moors and bogs, this is a year-round trove of insight and knowledge for anyone who cares about the natural-world from birdsong and biodiversity to sphagnum and species reintroduction.
The Ring Ouzel: a view from the North York Moors
By Vic Fairbrother and Ken Hutchinson Whittles Publishing, 2020
ISBN 978-1-84995-435-8; £21.95
Using vivid extracts from field notebooks and profusely illustrated with photographs as well as paintings and sketches by wildlife artist Jonathan Pomroy, the reader is transported to the beautiful North York Moors National Park. We can share in the excitement as the first Ring Ouzels of the year return from their winter quarters in North Africa, witness their courtship displays, the establishment of territories and the female ouzel painstakingly building her nest and laying eggs. Crucially this book is much more than a remarkable record of twenty years' fieldwork as it builds on earlier research elsewhere and relates local findings to the results of other current studies in England, Wales and Scotland. The contraction in distribution and number of Ring Ouzels breeding in Britain, the work of the Ring Ouzel Study Group, the introduction of conservation measures and the potential impact of climate change are all described.
The Seafarers – a journey among birds
By Stephen Rutt
Elliott & Thompson, 2019
ISBN 978-1-78396-427-7; £14.99
In 2015, Stephen Rutt escaped his hectic, anxiety-inducing life in London for the bird observatory on North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney Islands. In thrall to these windswept havens and the people and birds that inhabit them, he began a journey to the edges of Britain. From Shetland, to the Farnes of Northumberland, down to the Welsh islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, he explores the part seabirds have played in our history and what they continue to mean to Britain today.
The Common Buzzard
By Sean Walls and Robert Kenward
Poyser (Bloomsbury), 2020
304pp; figures, line-drawings and photographs Pbk, ISBN 978-1-4729-7208-8, £34.99
Hbk, ISBN 978-1-4081-2525-0, £59.99
This is a species rich in paradoxes. Why does a hawk evolved for hunting small mammals thrive on invertebrates and carrion? How can a raptor renowned for dramatic territorial displays occur at such high densities? And why does such a large bird that can travel long distances spend so much time in small areas? Sean Walls and Robert Kenward delve deep into the ecology of the Common Buzzard to provide answers to these questions and many more, as well as examining the conservation conundrums raised by this bird. Bringing together a wealth of research on the species' origins, feeding behaviour and breeding, along with information on movement and survival from the authors' own studies, The Common Buzzard provides an invaluable insight into exactly what has enabled this marvellous raptor to return to old haunts to impress, inspire and connect people with nature.
Stephen Menzie, Gill Birtles, Tom Cadwallender, Ian Carter, Hazel McCambridge and Roger Riddington, c/o 24 Linkside Road, Woolton, Liverpool L25 9NY; e-mail editor [at] britishbirds.co.uk
British Birds is a magazine for everyone interested in the birds of the Western Palearctic. Published monthly since 1907, the magazine contains a range of material on behaviour, conservation, distribution, ecology, identification, movements, status and taxonomy, as well as the latest news items and book reviews. British Birds is regarded as the British birdwatcher’s journal of record, with regular reports on rare and scarce migrants, and rare breeding birds. All the main contributions are peer-reviewed, and the magazine aims to interpret scientific research in an easily accessible way.
Working together for seabirds
BTO work supports effective monitoring of our seabirds and aims to provide opportunities for a new generation of seabird surveyors.