Now that I have a little "connection" at Princeton University Press, I get to hear about new bird books almost the minute they're hot off the press. So I just found out that there's a new edition of Birds of Europe, from Princeton UP. Those of you who bird on ye olde Continent, as well as those of us who watch David Attenborough's The Life of Birds and wish we knew what all those chaffinches and hawfinches and fieldfares are about, will want to check it out!
I've read about how the book is set up, and I'm definitely putting it on my wish list in Amazon: like my National Geographic US birds guide, it's set up with the text, range map, and description on facing pages. One frustrating thing about birding in Texas with Birding Mommy's Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds of Texas was the fact that it was set up the "old way," by which I mean the color plates and brief descriptions of major field marks are all up front, then the text describing the bird and giving nesting, habitat, etc. information comes next, and then the maps are all bunched at the end. I would never criticize the great RTP--and maybe it's because I'm just a beginner and have no memory skills--but I like all the info in one place! I've seen more field guides going with this organizational method, and it's the reason I bought the NatGeo guide and use it as my first go-to when I'm puzzling over an ID or need some range information.
Speaking of field guides and puzzling IDs, I was thrilled to see lots of Red-tailed Hawks on my way home through Ohio, and I had no trouble at all IDing them. Unlike those crazy subspecies in Texas, the ones with no belly band and an almost solid white underside in flight, these yankee RTHAs show their colors and make it easier for a raptor beginner like me to ID them.
If the field guide collector in your life (aka you) has a birdday coming up, be sure to give this book a look:
Birds of Europe: Second Edition
Text and Maps by Lars Svensson
Illustrations and Captions by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterström