Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson

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Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson

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Buy Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Reference
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The sort of book which would be a pleasure to own - even if you had no interest in birds. But in additions it's comprehensive and user friendly but at least a little experience is needed to us the book effectively. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 978-1782400899

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I've always been fascinated by hummingbirds - delicate, colourful, beautifully and brilliantly adapted to extract nectar from flowers. Perhaps most of all for me it's their acrobatic flight - the ability to hover and manoeuvre which has me hooked: I could watch them for hours, amazed that birds whose weight can only meaningfully be given in ounces can do so much. I was drawn to this book as soon as I saw it, for a number of reasons.

Firstly - the publisher is Ivy Press. They're consistently good both in terms of production values and quality of content. Several reviewers from Bookbag will take books on trust if they come from Ivy Press. This book is no different - I'm reviewing a quality hardback, complete with silk bookmark, just about every page printed in full, glorious colour and the sort of printing which I'm used to seeig in high-end stamp catalogues. It might be a little on the heavy side for field work - but it would be worth the effort.

Then - I'd encountered one of the authors before. Marianne Taylor is a writer and illustrator as well as an accomplished wildlife photographer. I always feel that she brings empathy to her work. Here she's paired with Michael Fogden, who has a long history of writing and photographing wildlife and Sheri L Williamson who has a specialist history with hummingbirds. In politics you'd call it a dream team.

The book doesn't disappoint either. There's a foreword by Chris Packham, an introduction and then the basics about the hummingbirds. In the space of about twenty pages you're taken through the birds' evolution, colour and iridescence, flight, feeding, courtship, moult and feather care and finally migration. It's a nicely balanced piece - long enough to give a complete novice a decent grounding but not so much that the more experienced birder is bored.

Using the book is not simple for the inexperienced and it's this that makes it a bible for the experienced birder rather than the novice. Most species are described with an accompanying photograph - male and female, with rarer species listed at the end of the book. In both parts species are in taxonomic order following The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of Birds of the World. Each entry is accompanied by a map of where the bird can be found both year round, during the breeding season and in the winter. The status of each species follows the recommendations of the the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then we can also recommend Beautiful Owls: Portraits of Arresting Species from Around the World by Marianne Taylor and Andrew Perris.

Buy Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L Williamson at Amazon.com.

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