Birdsong in a Time of Silence is the story of a man rediscovering his passion for birdsong and nature. Narrated against the backdrop of the current pandemic, the book opens by acknowledging the new awareness of birds and birdsong that was made possible by the coincidence of spring and the experience of lockdown. Starting with a portrait of the blackbird – most prominent and articulate of the early spring singers – the book proceeds through ten chapters to explore how birds sing, the variety of singing birds (including the arrival of summer migrants), the science behind their choice of song and nest-sites, and the varied meanings that people have brought to and taken from birdsong – ultimately demonstrating that natural history and human history cannot be separated. In closing, the book reflects on the collective reawakening brought on by this strangest of springs.
Steven Lovatt is a birder, writer, critic and teacher, based in South Wales. His creative and critical writing has been widely published, including in Little Toller's online magazine The Clearing (of which he was also co-editor), Critical Survey and the New Welsh Review. This is his first book.