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British Birds interactive: Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

What's special about British Birds?

For 100 years the journal British Birds has been at the forefront of British birdwatching - the place to report significant ornithological sightings and events, to publish ground-breaking articles on identification, to showcase the talents of top bird photographers and artists. Birdwatchers have used British Birds (or BB as it is widely known) as a key work of reference as it has included many significant features:

  • The annual rarities report - listing all the accepted sightings of every rare bird in Britain
  • The annual rare breeding birds report - documenting the numbers of pairs of rare breeding birds known each year
  • Bird Photograph of the Year - showcasing the best recently taken photographs
  • Bird Illustrator of the year - highlighting the work of the best artists
  • Studies of less-familiar birds - describing what was known about particular species found in limited parts of Europe, often including the first published photos of that species
  • Recent reports - summaries of the movements, influxes and sightings reported during the previous month
  • Notes -often remarkable reports from individual birdwatchers of birds seen doing things that hadn't previously been described.
  • News and Comment - a record of all that was happening at that time in the world of birdwatching
  • Firsts for Britain - detailing the circumstances of the finding of birds never before seen in this country.
  • Mystery photographs - identification puzzles with the answers given the following month

In addition, it has been THE place to publish ground-breaking articles and notes, especially on bird identification, including:

  • Hippolais warblers by Shirihai et al.
  • European raptors by Porter, Willis et al.
  • Gulls by Peter Grant
  • Marsh terns by DIM Wallace
  • Stints and peeps by Lars Jonsson and Peter Grant

It is here that many of the best bird photographers and artists have showcased their work so the pages have been graced by classic photos by the likes of Eric Hosking, JB & S Bottomley, RJ Chandler, Jens and Hanne Eriksen and superb illustrations by people such as Richard Richardson, Lars Jonsson, Robert Gillmor and Alan Harris.

The main papers have included a fascinating range of topics including summaries of the latest knowledge by top scientists such as Nick Davies on Dunnocks and Peter Berthold on theories of bird navigation. Well-covered topics include taxonomy, bird distributions, population changes, migration, habitat changes, conservation issues. Here's a chance to see how our knowledge of these have changed over 100 years and look back at how events such as the spread of the Collared Dove and the pesticide poisoning of Peregrines were documented at the time.

And in the pages of British Birds some of the great controversies of a century of birding have been tussled over and resolved: issues of taxonomy, disagreements over identification, the fraud of the Hastings rarities. All fascinating stuff.

Many birdwatchers constantly reach for their shelves bulging with past volumes of British Birds as an endless source of reference and pleasure. But there are very few, if any, birdwatchers whose set goes back all the way to the first edition. Even those birdwatchers who have been subscribing to BB for the last 40 or 50 years may have the occasional issue missing from their set. Now everyone can have every issue from every volume accessible on their computer.

What's special about having all this content on DVD-ROM?

The content of 100 years of British Birds is so fascinating, so significant and so informative that it would be amazing just to have it all in one place - not just a whole book, or even a whole shelf-full but a whole bookcase of material all on one disk. But this DVD-ROM has been designed to provide much more than just a copy of all that content. It will also allow you to search, filter and display all the articles, photos and illustrations in ways that could never be possible with a mere set of journals. Here are just some of the possibilities:

View all the photos of any species - these can be displayed as thumbnails giving an overview of the photos available.

View any photo at whatever size you wish - click on any thumbnail to make it go 'full-screen'.

Compare any photos side-by-side. You could put photos of Greenish Warbler down one side of the screen, Arctic Warbler down the other and select whichever images of each species best illustrate whatever you are looking for.

View all the photos by any photographer - e.g. all the classic Eric Hosking photos.

View all the papers on any topic - the papers on identification or taxonomy or populations or behaviour can all be presented separately.

View all the papers, notes or letters about each species - e.g. not just the classic identification papers on difficult groups but also the correspondence that followed.

View all the illustrations by any artist - just about all the top bird illustrators are represented here. You can even compare the style of two artists side-by-side.

View all the letters or notes by any author - there's hours of fun to be had just looking through the contributions of controversial characters such as WRP Bourne!

View any or all of the papers in any series including the BBRC rarities report or Recent work by British Bird Photographers or Studies of less familiar birds.

View the monthly marathon or mystery bird features in sequence - struggle to identify the puzzling photo then find out the answer (and how it should have been arrived at) at the click of a mouse.

Search all the text for every mention of any word. You may have a specific research topic e.g. kleptoparasitism or you may want to look up what has been written about your local patch or you might just want to see every mention of your own name!

View the content in a number of ways - the design follows that used in the ground-breaking BWPi DVD-ROM so you have the freedom to display the material in the same variety of ways:

  • Full-screen mode - the image or article can fill the screen or be shrunk to whatever size suits you best
  • Split-screen mode - you can split the screen in two, each with it own menu from which you can select what appears on each side. If two illustrations were annoyingly on different pages (or even issues) in the original journal you can now put them side-by-side.
  • Thumbnail mode - this gives you an overview of what's available on that species or topic e.g. a list of all the papers or photos or illustrations of Lesser Spotted Eagle
  • Display mode - offers a number of 'windows' of different sizes so you can have an article in the largest window, flanked by the photos or illustrations that are relevant to the text.

Filter the information on display. When you display the assets for any species you can use the filter option to include/exclude articles, notes, letters, photos, illustrations etc. so you can view just the photos or just the main articles.

Or you can just view all the issues in any year, click on any of them and see what articles, photos, letters and notes were published inside.

  • You can order online from our estore (excluding subscriber offer - see below) or call us on 0800 919391 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
  • International orders +44 (0)1536 273532.
  • BirdGuides, Warners Group Publications PLC, The Chocolate Factory, 5 Clarendon Road, London N22 6XJ

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