254 pages, no illustrations
Birds and bird lore provide a fascinating window onto British social and cultural history, and can tell a lot about the changing relationship between the landscape, people and society.
British people love their birds. They hold a special place in their hearts – whether it's the sound of birdsong on a spring morning, the sight of a Barn Owl hunting on a summer's evening, or a Robin perched on a garden spade. In Birds Britannia: Why the British Fell in Love with Birds, Stephen Moss focusses on some of the most beloved and charismatic birds. He explores their fascinating biology, and their place in the evolving culture and history of the British people.
The author delves into the worlds of sea birds (puffin, sea eagle and gannet), water birds (kingfisher, swan and avocet), countryside birds (red grouse, nightingale and skylark ) and town and garden birds (robin, house sparrow and magpie), weaving their stories together to tell four very different stories about the changing face of Britain.
[...] Stephen's text admirably explains why birds hold a special place in our hearts and why the relationship between the British and their native birds is richer and more complex than that of any other nation on Earth [...]
- Bryan Bland, Birding World 24(9), 2011
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After reading English Literature at Cambridge, Stephen Moss pursued a career in broadcasting and writing about birds and wildlife. He is based at the BBC Natural History Unit at Bristol, where his series include Springwatch, Birding with Bill Oddie, and The Nature of Britain. He has also written a number of books, including A Bird in the Bush, and This Birding Life: The Best of The Guardian's Birdwatch column. He lives in Somerset with his wife and five children.