To: Birding-Aus <>, bard <>
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 15:05:41 +1000

During the two previous birding field guide surveys (FGS#1, FGS#2) Lawrie mailed a questionnaire to the Birding-Aus e-mail list, inviting subscribers to participate in a survey of birder field guide preferences by answering six simple questions.  The simple objective being to see which field guides birders preferred, and why.

Birding-Aus at the time of the first survey (mid April 1998) had about 410 subscribers – mostly Australian (and with a heavy Melbourne bias), but with a sprinkling of birders from most parts of the world. Lawrie received 68 responses; equal to a 17% sample or about 1-in-6 Birding-Aus subscribers. In October 1999, he conducted the survey again. This time there were 75 respondents from about 420 Birding-Aus subscribers (about 18%). Most were from recreational birders, but a few responses from professional ornithologists were also received.

A somewhat underdone analysis of the answers from FGS#2 can be seen at

It is our intention to provide something more substantial by way of analysis this time!

Since the last survey in 1999, a major new field guide (Morcombe) has become established, and Flegg’s error-ridden photographic guide has been spruced up. We think it’s now time for a new survey – FGS#3.

If you participated in either FGS#1 or 2, please join in again. If you are new to the survey – welcome! – and please send us your reply.

To participate in the survey, all you need to do is answer the following questions, and e-mail the results back to either Lawrie Conole m("","cicadabird");"><> or Alastair Smith m("","alclare");"><>. Nobody is identified in the web published results, and so privacy is guaranteed – be as frank in your answers as possible.

  1. Where do you live (Country, state, city)?
  2. What gender & age bracket do you fit into? [M/F] [<20] [20-40]
     [40-60] [>60].

  3. How many years have you been ‘birding’?

  4. How many species of Australian birds have you seen (recorded on
     your life list, if you have one)?

  5. Please indicate which Australian birding field guides you own
     (ranking in order of preference):
        a. Cayley;
        b. Flegg;
        c. Morcombe;
        d. Pizzey & Doyle;
        e. Pizzey & Knight;
        f. Simpson & Day (indicate edition);
        g. Slater, 2 volumes;
        h. Slater, Slater & Slater, 1 volume;
        i. other ... specify.

  6. What is your favourite birding field guide for use throughout
        a. Cayley;
        b. Flegg;
        c. Morcombe;
        d. Pizzey & Doyle;
        e. Pizzey & Knight;
        f. Simpson & Day (indicate edition);
        g. Slater, 2 volumes;
        h. Slater, Slater & Slater, 1 volume;
        i. other ... specify.

Please indicate if you use more than one field guide on birding excursions (e.g. carry one and keep one in the car).

  7. The reason(s) for your choices in Q5 & 6 (in 100 words or less!).

E-mail yours answers by 15 September 2003 to:

Lawrie Conole m("","cicadabird");"><> or Alastair Smith m("","alclare");"><>

Results will be collated and published online during October – November 2003. The URL and launch date for FGS#3 results will be published on Birding-Aus and BARD as soon as they are available.


Flegg, J. (2003). Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. (New Holland: French’s Forest).

Morcombe, M. (2002). The Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds. (Steve Parish Publishing: Archerfield).

Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology

Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
E-mail: m("","lconole");">
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

NOTE: This message may contain privileged and/or confidential information intended for addressees only.  Please do not copy or forward without permission.

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