By no means belief a discipline information writer’s declare of a definitive textual content, as a result of every new version is for certain to carry extra a definitive textual content than that from the earlier version!
The Collins Hen Information covers Europe, North Atlantic islands, a lot of North Africa and the Center East. The first version from 1999 was an entire revolution in nearly every part, however predominantly the standard and realism of illustrations, exhibiting what a discipline information might be and severely elevating the edge for different publishers. That made everybody completely satisfied (with the doable exception of different publishers).
The Collins Hen Information 2nd version from 2009 was a a lot hated taxonomical revolution/nightmare, altering nearly every part. No matter you thought that you just knew about birds, it was the time to grasp that subsequent to nothing. I’m nonetheless irritated that no birds are the place they was. There was one odd reprint in 2018, when the Subalpine Warbler was break 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 a couple of million copies.
And now I maintain the Collins Hen Information, third version from December 2022. It has matured gloriously, and nevertheless completely different from its predecessors, the modifications are extra refined and it now not represents a youthful revolution, however already a mature normal. 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? Really, the alternative is true, virtually 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 couple of new vignettes have been added. These additional pages (32 greater than #2) allowed for more room 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 (further three rarities added into essential plates), woodpeckers (have you ever ever seen an obese woodpecker?), swallows (martins merely magnificent, swallows on the fringe of changing into overcrowded), redstarts, flycatchers (Noticed and Purple-breasted at the moment are extra brownish above, as a substitute of greyish), tits (elevated sizes of illustrations with out overcrowding the web page – nice, additionally beautiful new vignettes), finches and buntings (each teams barely extra outlined, bit no vital modifications), and many others.
Most likely the obvious distinction is the brand new plate depicting Lammergier and Lappet-faced Vulture (with a typo on the very high of the plate: Lammengier), but in addition the Griffon Vulture plate, Egyptian Vulture plate, and many others. 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 higher accuracy, wanting brighter and extra outlined.
One other distinction, an odd one, some woodpeckers gained weight, may or not it’s a time to think about a weight loss plan? Right here within the southeast of Europe the place I dwell, 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 best way I see them) however extra leaning ahead and – once more, a lot fatter!!
The part with vagrants has been expanded to accommodate extra photographs 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 will not be full, but goals to incorporate essentially the most well-known species. Right here I missed one well-known huge 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 Higher Rhea. Overlook occasional escapees, there may be 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:
All the 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 laborious to learn, particularly when small dimension font just like the, I feel, Occasions New Roman and go for some easy font that you just truly can learn when driving in a Defender over grime observe corrugations. Additionally, the primary ID characters are in italics, solely making them more durable to learn within the discipline circumstances (daring or italic + daring would have been an enchancment).
Adjustments in maps are refined and few, principally a special color right here, indicating a special standing in a selected space, or a lacking dot there, indicating that one other native subpopulation has been misplaced. Europe’s reduction makes it a very laborious 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 discipline ornithologist. Killian Mullarney is without doubt one of the world’s best hen illustrators. Dan Zetterström is extensively 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 could be time to think about two guides, an jap and western version (okay, partially overlapping in Central Europe?), with a brand new font alternative, fewer birds per ebook and bigger maps? One other improvement might be a compact version, like that new information for Australia?
Nearly each European birder has not less than one copy of The Collins Hen Information (I had 4, however handed the #1 to a budding birder). With #1, you simply wanted to degree as much as #2, however with #2, do it is advisable to degree up once more?
The Collins Hen Information is most definitely one of many easiest discipline guides anyplace on the earth and will get my highest suggestion. So, on this case, it could be much less of a have to improve, as a lot of a want to get that vibrant and vibrant new version. And it being a quite average 30 Kilos sterling query, after the hardcover for my bookshelf, I’ll definitely get a softcover for my automotive.
The Collins Hen Information #3 is at present 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 Hen Information
By Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney, Dan Zetterström
third version printed in December 2022
478 pages, 4000+ color illustrations, 700 color distribution maps
ISBN 10: 0008547459