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Old 02-09-12, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Midlands Uk
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Default Helm field guides?

I have been offered a set of Helm field guides but was wondering what other people thought of the books before purchase thier are 35 books in the collection and they are not cheap so please any information would be extremely gracefully recieved and considered

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Old 03-09-12, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 680

For the most part the Helm Field Guides are a very good set of books, and each one will be very useful if you are travelling to the geographical region that it covers. They are not fully comprehensive, and do not try and illustrate every plumage of all species (in the way that the Collins Field Guide does for Europe). The amount of information given in the text can also sometimes be limited, as can the quality of the illustrations in a few of them, and distribution maps can obviously only be based on the best data available prior to publication - and distribution of many species invariably changes over time.

If you travel widely around the world, and are likely to use a fair proportion of them, then they are likely to be a worthwhile purchase. Personally I would want the price they were offered at to be extremely cheap before I purchased a set like this though. New (invariably improved) field guides are regularly published, and for me at least it is more economical to wait until I know that I will be visiting a particular country or region, and to then buy the best guide that is available at time. If I already have a guide that covers the region I will consider whether anything more recent has improved enough to warrant purchasing a second guide, and the decision could go either way.

It can be nice to have a set of books covering most of the worlds birds though, the Lynx Edicions, Handbook of the Birds of the World, being the ideal publication - but very expensive, although if I was offered a set of these at a good price I would seriously consider it!
A set of Helm Field Guides would be a good alternative option, lacking as much detail about each species, but providing basic coverage and an idea of what most species look like, and I have already purchased copies of some guides covering broader geographical regions for this purpose - eg. Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Birds of East Asia, Birds of outh America: Passerines, Birds of South America: Non-passerines, etc. (not necessarily Helm Field Guides, but some of them are).

Depending on the price offered, and the likely usage you would get from the books, they are certainly of good enough quality to consider purchasing.
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