The original publication of Chris Mead's book soon took its place as the most accessible yet authoritative work on owls available and continued to be a bestseller for almost twenty years until it went out of print a few years ago. Appealing not just to keen birdwatchers but also to budding naturalists and all those with a passing interest in birds, copies of the book are still sought after.
This amazingly informative book has now been redesigned and republished as the first volume in The British Natural History Collection. Sadly Chris Mead died in 2003 so the original text has been brought right up to date by his former colleague and friend Mike Toms.
A feature of the book is the beautiful and accurate line drawings and cartoons by renowned wildlife artist Guy Troughton. This special edition also features an eight-page gallery of stunning colour images by bird photographer Mark Hancox including his photograph of a Short-eared Owl, winner of the Bird- Guides Photo of the Year 2010 competition.
The book reveals all sorts of curious and unexpected facts about the owls found in Britain, and also some oddities about those species found elsewhere. The book gives readers helpful advice on how to observe and count their local owls and how to assist in protecting them. It even has a section on the design and construction of nest-boxes and where best to position them.
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Chris Mead, who lived in Norfolk, was one of Britain's foremost ornithologists. An influential member of the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology), he was often its spokesman and the driving force behind many of its projects. Chris firmly believed that scientific work on birds should be shared more widely and he communicated new information in a way that was always accessible and engaging. He was a prolific author and a regular contributor to many publications including Bird Watching, BBC Wildlife and British Wildlife.
Mike Toms is Head of Garden Ecology, BTO.