by Simon Barnes | Hardcover with jacket | 323 pages | 2016
One of our most eloquent nature writers offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in.
What can birds tell us about life? How do they achieve the miracle of flight? Why do they sing? Is it inconsistent to feel sentimental about a blue tit while eating a chicken sandwich?
Whether describing the usefulness of feathers and the nictating membrane of the peregrine falcon, or marvelling at the 103 notes that the wren sings in the course of an eight-second song., Simon Barnes illuminates – with wit, wisdom and affection – the natural histories of birds, the rich network of myth and symbolism that attaches to them and the ways in which we humans have both nurtured and persecuted them over the centuries.
From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Darwin towards his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of climate change, Simon Barnes explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a feathered creature and the myriad ways in which birds help us understand the world.