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The Collins Fowl Information, third version – 10,000 Birds

By no means belief a area information writer’s declare of a definitive textual content, as a result of every re-creation is for certain to convey extra a definitive textual content than that from the earlier version!

The Collins Fowl Information covers Europe, North Atlantic islands, a lot of North Africa and the Center East. The first version from 1999 was a whole revolution in nearly every little thing, however predominantly the standard and realism of illustrations, exhibiting what a area information may very well be and significantly elevating the brink for different publishers. That made everybody blissful (with the doable exception of different publishers).

The Collins Fowl Information 2nd version from 2009 was a a lot hated taxonomical revolution/nightmare, altering nearly every little thing. No matter you thought that you simply knew about birds, it was the time to grasp that you recognize subsequent to nothing. I’m nonetheless aggravated that no birds are the place they was. There was one odd reprint in 2018, when the Subalpine Warbler was cut up into the Jap and Western species, however the modifications within the information weren’t enough to name it a third version, so it remained the up to date reprint of the 2nd version. Taken collectively, #1 and #2 have been translated into 23 languages and offered multiple million copies.

And now I maintain the Collins Fowl Information, third version from December 2022. It has matured gloriously, and nevertheless completely different from its predecessors, the modifications are extra delicate and it now not represents a youthful revolution, however already a mature commonplace. But, nonetheless a gauntlet thrown to different publishers, too.

Left – 2nd version, proper – third version

So, not a lot has modified for the reason that 2nd version? Truly, the other is true, nearly each plate seems a bit completely different. Even in those who seem the identical, the birds are brighter, lighter and extra vibrant (e.g. the Corn Bunting plate).  

The #1 had 400 pages, 3,500 work and 700 distribution maps. The #3 has 478 pages, 4000 work and, once more, 700 distribution maps. Greater than 50 plates are both new or have been repainted, fully or partly. Other than this, a number of new vignettes have been added. These additional pages (32 greater than #2) allowed for extra space and fully or partly new plates of grouse, divers (loons), a number of teams of raptors, terns, owls (birds proven from a number of angles now, new vignettes, too), swifts (extra three rarities added into essential plates), woodpeckers (have you ever ever seen an chubby woodpecker?), swallows (martins merely magnificent, swallows on the fringe of turning into overcrowded), redstarts, flycatchers (Noticed and Crimson-breasted at the moment are extra brownish above, as an alternative of greyish), tits (elevated sizes of illustrations with out overcrowding the web page – nice, additionally pretty new vignettes), finches and buntings (each teams barely extra outlined, bit no important modifications), and so forth.

In all probability the obvious distinction is the brand new plate depicting Lammergier and Lappet-faced Vulture (with a typo on the very prime of the plate: Lammengier), but additionally the Griffon Vulture plate, Egyptian Vulture plate, and so forth. Within the final two, there’s a habitat-background vignette added. These cliffs look unfamiliar to me, used to look at vultures in pale limestone gorges of the Balkans. The Lammergier appears to be proven in dolomites, Griffon Vulture almost definitely in granites, Egyptian Vulture presumably in sandstones… Repainted, they present larger accuracy, trying brighter and extra outlined.

One other distinction, an odd one, some woodpeckers gained weight, may it’s a time to think about a weight loss program? Right here within the southeast of Europe the place I reside, woodpeckers seem slim, however up there in Eire the place the painter Killian Mullarney lives, they might extra generally fluff up their feathers to maintain extra air for insulation and this new ball-like look (actually!) could also be extra standard for northern Europe?

Then, the redstarts, fully repainted, extra subspecies proven, lighter and extra vibrant, however the birds look fairly completely different, their stance is now not so upright (the way in which I see them) however extra leaning ahead and – once more, a lot fatter!!  

The part with vagrants has been expanded to accommodate extra photos and longer texts for a number of species. Launched breeding species and species recorded solely as escapees now have all species illustrated (they weren’t within the #2) and people illustrations bigger than earlier than. The introduction clarifies that the listing shouldn’t be full, but goals to incorporate essentially the most well-known species. Right here I missed one well-known massive hen within the #2, it can’t be a lot larger or extra apparent, and I don’t see it within the #3 both: the Better Rhea. Neglect occasional escapees, there’s an established feral inhabitants efficiently breeding within the north of Germany, which was 131 birds robust final 12 months. I’ve simply checked the maps, BirdLife says South America solely, however the extra related eBird says this:

The whole textual content and all maps have additionally been revised. I haven’t seen modifications within the few descriptions of more durable to ID species that I in contrast. But, a third version was an opportunity to drop the arduous to learn, particularly when small dimension font just like the, I feel, Instances New Roman and go for some easy font that you simply truly can learn when driving in a Defender over dust observe corrugations. Additionally, the primary ID characters are in italics, solely making them more durable to learn within the area circumstances (daring or italic + daring would have been an enchancment).

Modifications in maps are delicate and few, principally a unique color right here, indicating a unique standing in a specific space, or a lacking dot there, indicating that one other native subpopulation has been misplaced. Europe’s reduction makes it a very arduous continent to current hen distributions on a small scale and I want it was doable to enlarge the maps.

Lars Svensson is Europe’s main area ornithologist. Killian Mullarney is among the world’s best hen illustrators. Dan Zetterström is broadly acclaimed for his hen illustrations.

Many vagrants have been recorded many times, giving them the correct to sneak into the primary plates and to get a full protection. I’m starting to suppose that it might be time to think about two guides, an japanese and western version (okay, partially overlapping in Central Europe?), with a brand new font selection, fewer birds per e-book and bigger maps? One other growth may very well be a compact version, like that new information for Australia?

Nearly each European birder has no less than one copy of The Collins Fowl Information (I had 4, however handed the #1 to a budding birder). With #1, you simply wanted to stage as much as #2, however with #2, do you want to stage up once more?

The Collins Fowl Information is most definitely one of many absolute best area guides anyplace on this planet and will get my highest advice. So, on this case, it might be much less of a have to improve, as a lot of a want to get that vivid and vibrant re-creation. And it being a moderately average 30 Kilos sterling  query, after the hardcover for my bookshelf, I’ll definitely get a softcover for my automobile.

The Collins Fowl Information #3 is at the moment accessible solely as a hardbound from Collins, however they are going to be publishing the softcover model in Might 2023. Princeton College Press might be co-publishing the title this summer season.

Collins Fowl Information
By Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney, Dan Zetterström
third version revealed in December 2022
478 pages, 4000+ color illustrations, 700 color distribution maps
ISBN: 9780008547455
ISBN 10: 0008547459

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