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Advanced identification guide? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
My wife and I have been bird watchers for around 10 years. On average we go bird watching about once or twice a month. We would describe ourselves as vaguely adequate when it comes to bird ID, but I still get some species confused and it is not infrequent for one or both of us to have to look at our copy of the Collins guide to confirm (or not) an ID.
We've been looking to get something to help us with identifying some of the more difficult to identify species and have come across the Helm guide to bird identification, which we quite like the look of.
Is this book any good? Are there better guides to identifying difficult to ID British birds?

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Old Berkshire Boy
The small MacMillan has been out of print for some time and is now quite sought after by some collectors, the Helm was the next to follow but there are many more up to date guides if the Collins doesn't cover.

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
I presume you are referring to this one.


The new edition includes more species than the original, many of the plates are new and the others are better printed than in the original (at least that is the case with my copies).

I find it complements the Collins guide very nicely. It has a much greater proportion of text than the Collins guide. It assumes you can identify easy birds such as Oystercatchers, so leaves such species out, and gives more detail about more difficult species. Whether a species is included or not depends on how difficult it is to identify, and rarity or otherwise is irrelevant.

It is however a bit bigger than the Collins guide so isn't really something you can pop in a pocket though is fine if you have a small bag.

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