What bird is that?

For ages I’ve been contemplating writing a blog post on bird identification field guides.

Mercifully, both for readers and myself, I’ve failed to do so!

I can now do better than that …

Chris Watson, a fellow bird blogger and curator of The Grip, has produced a terrific analysis of the major field guides to Australian birds. His blog post, Birds in Dead Trees, is an objective and subjective survey of the features, pros and cons of the five current contenders : Simpson & Day, Pizzey & Knight, Morcombe, Slater and Campbell. 


It’s an excellent summary and will certainly be useful in deflecting future inquiries from friends and acquaintances.

For the record, my personal favourite is The Field Guide to Birds of Australia by Pizzey and Knight, but the first book that got me excited about birds is pictured below. I received a copy of Australian Birds by Robin Hill as a birthday present almost 50 years ago and still regard it with affection!

Robin Hill

8 responses to “What bird is that?

  1. I remember that Robin Hill book with affection too! I realise that even with the birds up close I can’t always id them and rely on this to help me out! 🙂

  2. Geoff, I see a misfiled wildflowers book amongst the bird books ….nice selection of books too…the ocd part of me wants to re-sort into height…

  3. Andrew Zylinski

    I’ll always love Pizzey, rest his soul. His ability to capture the specific behaviuors of birds can often be a clincher in identification when feathers and calls aren’t enough.

  4. Hi Geoff, I am luck to have a Leather bound and signed copy of Robin Hill’s book. Number 157 of a limited edition of 200. I bought it from Andrew Isles some years ago. A lovely edition of an interesting book.

  5. Hi Geoff
    I have also had a copy of Robin Hills book for almost 50 years and I treasure it and my copy of ‘Bush Quest’ also by Robin as they played an enormous part in my love of nature!

  6. Our Dad, Curly, had similar views. I recall his enthusiasm for Graham Pizzey and his early purchase of Robin Hill’s strongly illustrated Australian Birds.
    It has the signs of a well used book.

  7. Chris Watson’s review is super useful, if only to justify one’s own choice of bird book!!

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