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 Post subject: My first book of Southern African Birds
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 157
Location: The City of Gold
While intended for children, and small children at that, this simple book may prove helpful to all novice birders regardless of age.

Many people are intimidated by the whole concept of ‘birding’. This is especially true those of us who are uncertain of their ability to distinguish a myna from a pigeon. Most field guides or birding reference books seem to assume an awful lot of knowledge which simply isn’t there!

“My first book of Southern African birds” presumes nothing and offers some useful tips for beginner birders so as to facilitate positive identification, reinforcing the joy of learning through a series of successes. Designed for pre-readers and those just beginning to read, this guide is multi-lingual, English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. It is thus also an excellent tool for those mastering the intricacies of reading in a second or third language.

The first few pages cover what observations a birder needs to make – where the bird was seen, what it was doing, its size, colouring, and the shape of its beak and claws.

The guide covers 58 birds commonly seen in parks, gardens, beaches and open veld and it describes what they eat and what type of nest they build, as well as their spoor. Each bird is sized on a chart, building confidence in correctly identifying bird sizes which are helpful for future identification of other birds.

The illustrations by Jennifer Schaum are wonderful. Experience in game viewing has taught me that good illustrations are vastly more helpful for identification even than photographs simply because the artist can portray an animal, or in this case a bird, in a pose which captures its distinguishing features best. Animals and birds seldom pose obligingly!

The only addition I would have liked to have seen is a “tick list” with place for dates and notes of where seen. It seems like a detail which would appeal to novice birders, and it would certainly add to the confidence which successful identifications give.

This makes a wonderful gift for any child going to one of South Africa’s beautiful national parks or bird rich holiday resorts over the summer holiday period.

Title: My first book of Southern African Birds
Author: Erroll Cuthbert
Illustrator: Jennifer Schaum
Publisher:Struik Publishers
ISBN No: 978-1-77007-283-1
Recommended Selling Price:R76-95

Addo Elephant National Park 14 -16 July 2014 (well, the morning of the 17th, really)
KNP Sable Hide 21 December 2014
KNP Letaba 22 - 26 December 2014
KNP Lower Sabie 25 April to 3 May 2015

 Post subject: Re: My first book of Southern African Birds
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:28 am 
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Posts: 1902
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
I saw a limited preview of this book and it looks great! I think I may have given a similar book (birds or mammals) to my niece or nephew for a birthday a few years ago.

I've just given my SO, who's a complete novice, Kenneth Newman's "What's that Bird?". She's taken to it very well. The only drawback to the book is it uses the old bird names. Otherwise I can recommend it for beginner birders.

What's That Bird?: A Starter's Guide to Birds of Southern Africa
Kenneth Newman
Struik Publishers

The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

 Post subject: Re: My first book of Southern African Birds
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:51 am 
Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 13984
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
FAC Member (2013)
I have a copy of "What's that bird?", bought at a second hand book store. It has helped me to get a sense of categorisation in a clear and concise manner.

The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

 Post subject: Re: My first book of Southern African Birds
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:10 pm 
Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 4183
Location: Where hippos, crocs and sharks meet ...
Bought the book at Lower Sabie during our December holiday. Find it a great help - compact and informative . Can recommend it as a start for every novice birder ... like me :D

"Happiness is like jam. You can't spread even a little without getting some on yourself."

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