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This English version of Guide d'Identification des Oiseaux en Main, updated with 51 extra species, gives all ornithologists who handle birds the essential information regarding accurate identification of species and subspecies, measurements, moult, sex and age.
The 301 species (154 non-passerines and 147 passerines) most frequently caught in Western Europe by general ringers are presented in detail. To avoid mistakes, identification is systematically compared with species of similar appearance, which represents a total of more than 550 treated species. Homogenous treatment of all species groups precludes the recurrent pitfalls of using various books with variable modes of presentation and means fewer books to carry.
Apart from 51 additional species, major improvements compared to the French version are:
- supplementary information in the introduction,
- addition of BTO codes and wing tip data in the heading of each species account,
- measurements of all treated species in the ‘identification’ section,
- the addition of schematic figures of moult sequences,
- addition of distribution range notes for all species,
- addition of EURING age codes in ‘moult’ and ‘age’ sections,
- improved organisation of figures clarifying them and becoming more comprehensive,
- addition of sonograms for some species (i.e. warblers...),
- addition of various informative figures and comparative illustrations,
- addition of bibliographic references at the end of each species account,
- different index marks for non-passerines and passerines,
- addition of appendix with a sample of moult and wing formula cards,
- and minor corrections and general updates to species accounts.
Laurent Demongin has 25 years experience of working in ornithology. He has collaborated with various laboratories and institutes (Laboratory of Ornithology in Minsk Institute of Zoology, Chizé Centre of Biological Studies (CNRS), Emirates Centre for Wildlife Propagation, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, University of Antwerp, University of Tromsö). Passionate about bird ringing, he got his ringing licence in 1998, and then participated in ringing activities in many countries (France, Belarus, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Israel [...] ).
Hervé Lelièvre, PhD, is an expert in fauna who has worked in various laboratories (Universities of Rennes and La Réunion, National Center for Scientific Research, National Museum of Natural History). Having considerable experience of writing reports and scientific articles in English, he conducted the translation of the book as rigorously as possible, to provide the reader with clear and comprehensive contents.
George Candelin has been a ringer for over 20 years and is currently employed as a Senior Research Assistant by RSPB and he has worked in ornithological research for BTO, RSPB and Oxford University. He has travelled extensively within Europe and been involved with ringing in Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Gibraltar and Cyprus. He has also held a CRBPO ringing licence and has participated in the ACROLA project. His experience includes a diversity of species ranging from swans and waterfowl, to seabirds, waders, raptors, gulls, pigeons, owls, swifts, woodpeckers, cuckoos, bee-eaters and passerines.
"Whether you consider it an indictment of the scientific community, or a reflection of the essential engagement of non-professional and professional practitioners in the pursuit of ornithology, it is a fact that key contributions in the scientific development of ornithology have been born through the dedication of unpaid individuals. Such is the case with Laurent Demongin's Identification Guide to Birds in the Hand, which is rapidly replacing many of the previous essential texts for bird ringers (banders) in Britain and Europe. [...] The failure of our field handbooks to keep abreast of the growing knowledge base of ageing and sexing is serious. [...] The guide incorporates much of this new knowledge with existing tried and tested techniques, drawing on peer-reviewed data published worldwide to produce, in a single volume, comprehensive accounts for the 301 species most often encountered by bird ringers in the British Isles. [...] Apart from the benefits of being a single volume, each species account is written to a standard and in a comprehensible style so that the information is readily accessible once the format is learned. If we must find faults, the gloss finish on the paper becomes problematic when wet, and so much information is presented on each page that it can become confusing and some may find the print too small. For the time being, this guide appears set to become the go-to, one-stop shop for ringers unless they are trying seriously to reduce the weight of their kit."
– Andy Gosler, Ibis 161(4), October 2019
"[...] This guide will become an essential reference in ringing labs and observatories. Non-ringers will also find it a great resource, to improve their understanding of techniques used to identify, age and sex birds in the hand, some which rarely appear in field guides. And even those familiar with moult will find the moult progression charts illuminating. Just keep your magnifying glass handy."
– Peter Kennerley, British Birds, 21-09-2016