• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Review - Danish raptor book - Rovfugle I felten (1 Viewer)

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Rovfugle I felten (Birds of Prey in the Field) – Klaus Mallig Olsen & Carl Christian Tofte Pub Politikens Forlag 185 pages 250mm x 180 mm ISBN-13:9788740023435

Over the years I have reviewed many books for birding journals, local birding newsletters and online, but this is a first: a review of a book of which I cannot read a single word! The name Klaus Mallig Olsen on the cover guarantees the text's quality, but as I can't read it, why bother? Two reasons: first to introduce more people to the superb artwork of Carl Christian Tofte and second to help create sufficient 'buzz' about this book so that it gets taken up and translated into English!

The book covers the 39 species of birds of prey that are regularly found in Europe so omits rarities (other than a small illustration and a sentence on Ruppell's Vulture). The first 15 or so pages, beautifully illustrated by charming vignettes, outline the basics of moult, etc. The following 18 pages, with nine plates, have comparative illustrations of 'confusion' species. However, the understandable northern bias of the book means there are no comparative illustrations regarding southern species like the vultures, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, etc.

The rest of the text, less a two pages spread on raptor watch points, is devoted to individual species accounts. Each account has a general introduction, plumage details, distribution notes and basic biological details. Each also has a rather small seasonal distribution map for Europe. Accounts, obviously, vary in length depending on the variability of the species and difficulties in identification. Perhaps disappointingly, there are no up to date population figures.

Somebody seems to have counted the number of illustrations as the dust cover claims that there are 'over 400 of them' which seems about right. But what illustrations! The first thing you notice is that, in field guide terms, the illustrations are enormous some 3-4 times bigger than those in the 'Collins Guide' for example. Such a generous size makes it refreshingly easy to see identification points (which are helpfully annotated). Species that vary little such as the larger vultures have 5 or 6 illustration, more variable ones 8 or p and a few of the most variable a dozen or more. Generally all but one of the illustrations show birds in flight and are supplemented by a single photograph. .The quality of the artwork is superb and rather reminiscent of that of Lars Jonsson; there is no finer accolade.

The final two pages of the text are given over to a brief description of eight European migration watchpoints for raptors; three in Scandinavia (Skagen, Nordsjaelland & Falsterbo), two by the Black Sea (Bosphorus & Burgas) and the remaining three across the Mediterranean. (Straits of Gibraltar, Messina and Malta). It would have been interesting to have included a little more details including some sample counts.

Let's face it as a non-Danish speaker you have to be a bit of a raptors nut or lover of good bird art to buy this book. If you're either then you will be delighted to own such a handsome volume, but also very frustrated. Artwork of this high quality cries out to have a wider market as it surely would were an English version produced. Admittedly it's also a bit of a curate's egg of a book since the detailed ID plates and annotated paintings cry out to be used in the field, but the shape of the book – slim, but tall and broad - militates against this. So if it's ever taken up by a British publisher I hope that they think through more thoroughly what it's for exactly, but if they get it right then surely such a book with gorgeous illustrations of a favourite group would sell very well indeed. OK, I know that a new, enlarged version of Dick Forsman's definitive photo guide will be out soon, but there's always room for good artwork!
 

Attachments

  • 20150922_212519_resized.jpg
    20150922_212519_resized.jpg
    421.1 KB · Views: 136
  • 20150922_212523_resized.jpg
    20150922_212523_resized.jpg
    116.8 KB · Views: 119
  • 20150922_212626_resized.jpg
    20150922_212626_resized.jpg
    321.2 KB · Views: 105
  • 20150922_212641_resized.jpg
    20150922_212641_resized.jpg
    357 KB · Views: 122
  • 20150922_212733_resized.jpg
    20150922_212733_resized.jpg
    368.7 KB · Views: 127

John Cantelo

Well-known member
... and a few more photos
 

Attachments

  • 20150922_212811_resized.jpg
    20150922_212811_resized.jpg
    385.8 KB · Views: 117
  • 20150922_212823_resized.jpg
    20150922_212823_resized.jpg
    374.8 KB · Views: 106

SVS

Well-known member
Thank you John for your review!

I have checked the pictures of the various pages and they are exactly identical to my first edition.
Also the total number of pages is the same.
So what has changed is the question?

Steven Schoevaart
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Thank you John for your review!

I have checked the pictures of the various pages and they are exactly identical to my first edition.
Also the total number of pages is the same.
So what has changed is the question?

Steven Schoevaart

I wish I could tell you! There's no obvious 'preface to the second edition' that might tell us via Google Translate ...
 

Mickster1000

Mickster1000
John, Thank you for the review.

Carl Christain Tofte is certainly talented and deserving of a wider audience. This book should be published in English and German and French, etc, etc. It just needs publisher.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I wish I could tell you! There's no obvious 'preface to the second edition' that might tell us via Google Translate ...

Sounds more like a second print run than a second edition but it looks superb.

Perhaps a line to the publisher could raise their awareness that it would be appreciated in English.

Andy
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Sounds more like a second print run than a second edition but it looks superb.

Perhaps a line to the publisher could raise their awareness that it would be appreciated in English.

Andy

My understanding is that they're well aware of the book's potential, but nobody's picked it up ...
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top