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Recommended books

Recommendations below are a mix of standard references to identification, status or other aspects of Irish and Waterford birds (and beyond), entertaining reads, and books that inspired many birders from the 1960 or 1970s onwards - sometimes all three!  Many are out of print (at least in their original editions) but may be available as reprints or specialist second-hand bookshops. Last updated 24/09/2010


General identification
Eric Dempsey & Michael O'Clery, 2002. The complete guide to Ireland's birds. 2nd edition. Gill & Macmillan, 262 pages:
The best guide covering specifically the birds of Ireland, including rarities.
Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterstrom. 2009. Collins Bird Guide, 2nd edition. Collins:
The best European field guide, and probably unrivalled anywhere inn the world; even better in its 2nd edition, with extra species covered ('splits' and others).

Advanced identification
Mark Constantine & the Sound Approach. 2006. The sound approach to birding. The Sound Approach, 192 pages + CDs.
Nils Van Duivendijk. 2010 Advanced bird ID guide. The western palearctic. New Holland, London, 304 pages:
"Every plumage of all 1,300 species and subspecies recorded in Britain, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East". Detailed, point-by-point summaries for each species and main plumage but no illustrations.
Martin Garner & friends. 2008. Frontiers in birding. Birdguide, Sheffield, 191 pages.
Lukas Jenni & Raffael Winkler. 1994. Moult and ageing of European passerines. Academic Press, 224 pages:
A detailed photographic guide to ageing for ringers.
Magnus Robb, Killian Mullarney & the Sound Approach. 2008. Petrels night and day. The Sound Approach, 300 pages + CDs:
A detailed guide to the sight & sound identification and taxonomy of tubenoses in the north-east Atlantic.
Lars Svensson. 1992. Identification guide to European passerines. 4th edition. Self-published:
In-hand identification of songbirds - the ringer's bible, though an update is overdue.

Where to watch
Eric Dempsey & Michael O'Clery. 2007. Finding birds in Ireland. Gill & Macmillan, 366 pages.
Paul Milne. 2009. Where to watch birds in Ireland. 2nd edition. Christopher Helm, 336 pages:
2nd edition of the original (1994) by the late Clive Hutchinson.

Status and distribution: Ireland
Clive D. Hutchinson. 1989. Birds in Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser:
The most recent standard text, and a daunting task to update...
P.G. Kennedy, R.F. Ruttledge, C.P. Scroope. 1954. The birds of Ireland. Oliver and Boyd, 437 pages:
Predecessor to Ruttledge (1966), and a more expansive read.
Peter Lack. 1986. The atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 447 pages:
Results of the first winter atlas (November-February 1981/92 to 1983/84).
Robert F. Ruttledge. 1966. Ireland's Birds. Witherby:
The standard text on the status of Irish birds until Hutchinson (1989).
Robert F. Ruttledge. 1975. A list of the birds of Ireland. Stationery Office, 146 pages:
A more concise summary, updating a series of checklists produced bythe National Museum.
J.T.R. Sharrock. 1973. The natural history of Cape Clear Island. T. & A.D. Poyser, 207 pages:
A book that inspired a generation of seawatchers, migrant-chasers and general birders. Now very rare & expensive in its original edition (scarcest of the collectable "Poysers"), but also available in a paperback reprint (2000).
Richard J. Ussher & Robert Warren. 1900. The birds of Ireland. Gurney and Jackson, 419 pages:
The first truly authoritative yet highly readable account of Irish birds, largely written by Waterford-based Ussher (who lived at Cappagh House).

Status and distribution: Britain & Ireland
P.Ian Mitchell, Timothy E. Dunn, Stephen F. Newton & Norman Ratcliffe. 2004. Seabird populations of Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 511 pages:
J.T.R. Sharrock. 1976. The atlas of breeding birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser:
First, and most readable, of all the the distribution atlases for these islands, and still an essential reference when putting modern distribution into perspective.

Birders and birding
Mark Cocker. 2001. Birders: tales of a tribe. Jonathan Cape.
Eric Dempsey. 2008. Birdwatching in Ireland with Eric Dempsey.  Gill and Macmillan, 256 pages.
Bill Oddie. 1980 (& reprints) Bill Oddie's little black bird book. Various publishers:
Birding and twitching, knowing the jargon, the two-bird theory, how to fool the rarities committee etc.
Bill Oddie. 1983. Gone birding. Methuen, 174 pages.
Bill Oddie. 1994. Follow that bird! Robson Books, 172 pages.
Bill Oddie. 2000. Bill Oddie's gripping yarns. Christopher Helm, 203 pages.
Ian Wallace. 2004. Beguiled by birds: Ian Wallace on British birdwatching. Christopher Helm, 272 pages:
A personal view of the history and development of "active birding" in Britain.

General reference
Stanley Cramp et al. (eds.) 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle east and North Africa: the birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press:
Or 'BWP' as it's widely known - a multi-volume reference summarizing all relevant knowledge of the species covered, although inevitably out of date in some respects. Original sets are now hard to find, but an interactive DVD-ROM version is now available.
P.A.D. Hollom. 1988. The popular handbook of British Birds. Witherby:
Now somewhat outdated but still a good general reference for behaviour, nesting biology etc of commoner species.

Mike Archer, Mark Grantham, Peter Howlett & Steven Stansfield. 2010. Bird observatories in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser,  London, 592 pages:
Accounts of the 18 current accredited bird observatories, including Cape Clear (Co Cork( and Copeland (Co Down), species lists and ringing totals up to 2008.
Ian Newton. 2010. Bird migration. New Naturalist series. HarperCollins, 600 pages:
An authoritative overview of bird migration, well worth a read for migration enthusiasts.
J.T.R. Sharrock. 1974. Scarce migrant birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 191 pages:
Maps and text summarizing the county-by-county distribution of scarce migrants (and some Irish rarities) such as Sabine's Gull, Melodious Warbler etc.
Chris Wernham et al. 2002. The migration atlas: movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 884 pages:
A comprehensive geographic analysis of ringing recoveries.

J.N. Dymond, P.A. Fraser & S.J.M. Gantlett. 1989. Rare birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 366 pages.
Adrian Pitches. 2005. Birds new to Britain, 1980-2004. T. & A.D. Poyser, 344 pages:
Not including Ireland, unfortunately, except as an appendix of species recorded here first (including Blue-winged Warbler).
J.T.R. Sharrock & E.M. Sharrock. 1976. Rare birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 336 pages:
Maps the county-by-county distribution of rarities, and mentions Co Waterford as a prime potential location for further discoveries (but poorly covered up to the early 1970s).
J.T.R. Sharrock & P.J. Grant. 1982. Birds new to Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, 263 pages:
"Original accounts from the monthly journal British Birds", including details of the first Black Duck for thesee islands, shot in Co Kilkenny and identified in a Waterford poultry shop!


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