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

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By no means belief a subject 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 Chicken 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 all the things, however predominantly the standard and realism of illustrations, exhibiting what a subject information might be and severely elevating the edge for different publishers. That made everybody comfortable (with the potential exception of different publishers).

The Collins Chicken Information 2nd version from 2009 was a a lot hated taxonomical revolution/nightmare, altering nearly all the things. No matter you thought that you just knew about birds, it was the time to understand that 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 adjustments within the information weren’t ample to name it a third version, so it remained the up to date reprint of the 2nd version. Taken collectively, #1 and #2 had been translated into 23 languages and offered a couple of million copies.

And now I maintain the Collins Chicken Information, third version from December 2022. It has matured gloriously, and nevertheless totally different from its predecessors, the adjustments are extra refined and it 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? Really, the other is true, nearly each plate appears a bit totally 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, utterly or partly. Other than this, a couple of new vignettes have been added. These further pages (32 greater than #2) allowed for extra space and utterly 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 foremost 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 Pink-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 adjustments), and so forth.

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 so forth. Within the final two, there’s a habitat-background vignette added. These cliffs look unfamiliar to me, used to watch vultures in pale limestone gorges of the Balkans. The Lammergier appears to be proven in dolomites, Griffon Vulture most certainly in granites, Egyptian Vulture probably in sandstones… Repainted, they present larger accuracy, wanting brighter and extra outlined.

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One other distinction, an odd one, some woodpeckers gained weight, might it’s a time to think about a food plan? Right here within the southeast of Europe the place I stay, woodpeckers seem slim, however up there in Eire the place the painter Killian Mullarney lives, they could 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, utterly repainted, extra subspecies proven, lighter and extra vibrant, however the birds look fairly totally different, their stance is 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 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 record will not be full, but goals to incorporate essentially the most well-known species. Right here I missed one well-known huge chicken within the #2, it can’t be a lot greater or extra apparent, and I don’t see it within the #3 both: the Better Rhea. Neglect occasional escapees, there’s an established feral population 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:

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Your entire textual content and all maps have additionally been revised. I haven’t observed adjustments within the few descriptions of more durable to ID species that I in contrast. But, a third version was an opportunity to drop the onerous to learn, particularly when small measurement font just like the, I believe, Instances New Roman and go for some easy font that you just truly can learn when driving in a Defender over grime monitor corrugations. Additionally, the primary ID characters are in italics, solely making them more durable to learn within the subject circumstances (daring or italic + daring would have been an enchancment).

Modifications in maps are refined and few, largely a distinct color right here, indicating a distinct 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 onerous continent to current chicken distributions on a small scale and I want it was potential to enlarge the maps.

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Lars Svensson is Europe’s main subject ornithologist. Killian Mullarney is likely one of the world’s best chicken illustrators. Dan Zetterström is extensively acclaimed for his chicken illustrations.

Many vagrants have been recorded repeatedly, giving them the appropriate to sneak into the primary plates and to get a full protection. I’m starting to assume that it could be time to think about two guides, an japanese and western version (okay, partially overlapping in Central Europe?), with a brand new font alternative, fewer birds per guide and bigger maps? One other improvement might be a compact version, like that new information for Australia?

Virtually each European birder has no less than one copy of The Collins Chicken 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 you might want to degree up once more?

The Collins Chicken Information is most definitely one of many best subject guides anyplace on this planet and will get my highest advice. But, on this case, it could be much less of a have to improve, as a lot of a want to get that vivid and vibrant new version. And it being a slightly average 30 Kilos sterling  query, after the hardcover for my bookshelf, I’ll definitely get a softcover for my automobile.

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

Collins Chicken 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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