THE MEAN­ING OF BIRDS

Si­mon Barnes

Bird Watching (UK) - - Gear -

Head of Zeus, HB, £16.99, BW Book­shop £14.99 (quote BW121)

This pas­sion­ate and beau­ti­fully writ­ten cel­e­bra­tion of birds – what they are, ex­actly, and what they mean to us – ranges far and wide in time, space and sub­ject mat­ter, with Barnes mov­ing smoothly between hard fact, more meta­phys­i­cal, evoca­tive pas­sages, and per­sonal mus­ings on the act of bird­watch­ing it­self. For all that it is a cel­e­bra­tion, he doesn’t shy away from hard truths when nec­es­sary, such as re­gard­ing the per­se­cu­tion of rap­tors by hunt­ing in­ter­ests, or just the gen­eral harm done to the nat­u­ral world by mankind. But the book re­mains in­spi­ra­tional, above all – here, you feel, is a writer who has ex­pe­ri­enced the same sorts of lit­tle bird­watch­ing tri­umphs and dis­as­ters as you, and come out with his en­thu­si­asm undimmed, and it leaves you ready for more of the same.

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