If you would like to order a copy of the Crossley ID Guide, then you can buy it directly from Princeton University Press by clinking this link http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10102.html . Next Generation Birders members can claim a 35% discount on this and all other books in the PrincetonWILDGuides catalogue by using the discount code.
The Crossley ID Guide- Review for NGB
Recently, I was one of a lucky five chosen by the Next Generation Birders (NGB) committee on Facebook, to receive a free copy of the latest Crossley publication- the ID Guide to
Britain and . However, out of those five
I was the one asked to write a review on the guide, and having never done this
before...I was nervous...but here we go! Ireland
I have been a birder for just over two years now, and would no longer class myself as a beginner but at an intermediate level- so apparently I am the perfect target audience for this book. I have only ever used the Collins Bird Guide, so initially the first thing I had to get used to was the use of photographs! This instantly appealed to me in that I could relate to them better for the ID process than a drawing or painting- the photographs seemed to capture not only the morphological variation but behavioural too! I found the guide very useful for passerines and waders and the different angles of the many photos arranged in a montage on each page. Some could argue the photo arrangements are somewhat chaotic, but I really like the variety of photos used for each species to enable a relatively new birder to appreciate the ID process to a wider capacity. As a relatively new birder, I would like to see for birds of prey, ways of distinguishing outlines in the sky as it is rare we get to see the detail portrayed in the fantastic photos used in this book.
It was also nice to recognise some familiar birding sites in
used as backgrounds for the bird images! Although I didn’t quite get why
humans, cattle and even a cheeky badger was necessary on already visually-busy
pages. Perhaps the authors were simply trying to set the scene! Norfolk
I like Couzen's text written below the images on each page to give a short introduction to each species and to summarise the key features one would use when making an identification of a bird. I recognised the use of the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) shorthand codes for each species name and I think this is great for birders who intend to volunteer or work for the BTO and need to learn/use these codes when carrying out surveys. Most birders have a ‘patch’ (I am yet to do this!) and I think it is a good idea to try and use these shorthand codes now so that we can get used to doing it and it becomes a universal language in the birding world. It is convenient when in the field when you don’t have much time to record your observations down.
Overall, I think this a user-friendly guide and is unique in its use of photo-montages of life-scenes: varying the angles and distance of the birds to resemble the situation when birding in the real world. It really emphasises the importance of shape, behaviour, size and even habitat that the bird is in which birders really need to grasp to progress in their identification skills. Whilst my personal preference would be to have less going on visually on each page, you can’t question the appeal of this sort of guide to beginner and intermediate birders. I would have liked to have seen more vagrant species of
and Ireland to have been included in this
book, but with 330 different species covered, it most definitely serves its
purpose as a teaching tool and field guide for the basic birds to be
encountered and how to correctly ID them.
Danni is a PhD student at the
University of East
Anglia, researching in evolutionary and conservation genetics on
the Seychelles Warbler. She has worked with
Birdlife and Nature Seychelles to actively
conserve and study this bird species and started birding as a hobby when she
moved to Norfolk just over two years ago.