Can you recognise the cheerful chirrups of the house sparrow? A song thrush singing out at winter's darkest hour? Or the beautiful haunting call of the curlew? At a time of great anxiety and uncertainty, while coping with the untimely death of his mother, Charlie Corbett realised his perspective on life was slipping. In a moment of despair, he found himself lying on the side of a hill in the rain, alone with his thoughts.
Suddenly he hears the song of a skylark – that soaring, tinkling, joyous sound echoing through the air above – and he is transported away from his dark thoughts. Grounded by the beauty of nature, perspective dawns. No longer the leading role in his own private melodrama, merely a bit part in nature's great epic. Through twelve characterful birds, Charlie shows us there is joy to be found if we know where to look, and how to listen. From solitary skylarks to squabbling sparrows, he explores the place of these birds in our history, culture and landscape, noting what they look like and where you're most likely to meet them.
By reconnecting with the wildlife all around him and learning to move with the rhythms of the natural world, Charlie discovered nature's powerful ability to heal. In this life-affirming and joyful guide to the birds living all around us, it might just heal you too.
Charlie Corbett is a freelance writer, journalist and public speaker. He comes from a family of livestock and arable farmers and spent his childhood divided between farms on the North Wessex Downs and The Isle of Mull.
Having studied history at the University of Edinburgh he turned away from his farming roots and spent the next 20 years reporting on business and finance from cities all over the world. But he remained, at heart, a country boy. He lives today at the foot of the Pewsey Downs in Wiltshire with his wife, two sons, and a field full of skylarks.