Birding enthusiasts are set to flock to get their copy of The Ultimate Companion for Birding in Southern Africa – the long-awaited follow up by renowned South African birding authors, Peter Ginn and Geoff McIlleron. The duo have teamed up once again after their record success with The Complete Book of Southern African Birds to produce what is being hailed by birding experts as the most visually stunning bird book ever published.
A double-volume large format coffee table book set, The Ultimate Companion features powerful full-colour images for all 960 species. These are complemented by varied commentary from eighteen contributing authors who have relayed their personal observations from the field – so the book offers birders action photography, as well as insights that you won’t find in any of the existing field guides, cementing the fact that this is indeed, the ultimate bird book.
The authors were asked to do something ‘a little different’. They were charged to write about birds in an interesting and unusual way and convey it in such a manner that both scientists and beginners can understand, appreciate and learn. “The Ultimate Companion was not intended as a bird identification book, but rather a book that you will read after observing birds in their habitats. It is designed to tell you what makes that bird “tick”,” Ginn explains. “We aimed to produce a book with the very best photographs of birds in our region that will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in nature, but we also hope to inspire others to gain an interest in the enormous variety which we are privileged to enjoy.”
According to co-editor Geoff McIlleron the book is considered a celebration of the digital advances made with photography. McIlleron had the tough task of carefully selecting 1400 pictures from over 30 000 images, some of which were submitted by international photographers.
Reflecting on the rigorous requirements of photography in the wild, McIlleron commended the photographers. “To capture good bird photographs requires enthusiasm and patience, but a sound knowledge of birds and their environment is also important. These pictures present the splendour of our birdlife in detail and contribute to education and an expanding awareness of the natural world”, states McIlleron.
The Ultimate Companion has been published by the financial services company, The Unlimited. The business put its weight behind the project as it presented an opportunity to support their passion for early childhood development. All profits from The Ultimate Companion will go to shifting the lives of children in underprivileged crèches through the not-for-profit early childhood development initiative, The Unlimited Child.
Steph Bester, CEO of The Unlimited, explains: “This book aims to raise environmental awareness around our rich birding diversity whilst providing funding to educate underprivileged pre-school children. By purchasing the book, you can become actively involved in changing the future of our nation through education,” Bester says.
The two-volume standard edition of The Ultimate Companion for Birding in Southern Africa is now available online at www.birdbook.co.za for R1476.30 (including VAT). This price includes a free e-book. A limited number of personalised collector’s editions signed by the authors are also available.
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