Bird Watching (UK) - - Gear -

Mark Avery Thames & Hud­son, HB, £24.95, BW Book­shop £19.95 (quote BW-112)

Mark Avery de­serves enor­mous credit for his tire­less work in high­light­ing the plight of the Hen Har­rier in the UK, but this beau­ti­fully de­signed book is more of a cel­e­bra­tion of the sheer va­ri­ety of avian life. One sec­tion does cover ex­tinct or threat­ened birds, but oth­ers look at song­birds, rap­tors, bird jour­neys, the love life of birds, colo­nial birds, birds that have been revered by man, and those that have been use­ful to us – as a re­sult, you get ev­ery­thing from the Sa­cred Ibis to the Turkey, all beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated by artists through the ages. Avery’s clear prose com­ple­ments the pic­tures per­fectly, so that it’s a great book to dip in and out of – I guar­an­tee that you’ll come away hav­ing learned some­thing new about even fa­mil­iar species such as the Dun­nock, while an ex­cel­lent ‘fur­ther read­ing’ list should help you to sat­isfy your cu­rios­ity even fur­ther. I hes­i­tate to say it this early in the year, but this is the sort of book that any bird­watcher would love to re­ceive as a Christ­mas present. Matt Mer­ritt

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