"At this time of year, blackbirds never simply fly: instead, like reluctantly retired officers, they're always 'on manoeuvres', and it's easy to see from their constant agitation that for them every flower bed is a bunker, every shed a redoubt and every hedge-bottom a potential place of ambush"
As the world went silent in lockdown, something else happened; for the first time, many of us started becoming more aware of the spring sounds of the birds around us. Birdsong in a Time of Silence is a lyrical, uplifting reflection on these sounds and what they mean to us.
From a portrait of the blackbird – most prominent and articulate of the early spring singers – to explorations of how birds sing, the science behind their choice of song and nest-sites, and the varied meanings that people have brought to and taken from birdsong, Birdsong in a Time of Silence ultimately shows that natural history and human history cannot be separated. It is the story of a collective reawakening brought on by the 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.
"A delightful meditation on the wonder of birdsong, and how it helped us at a moment of crisis"
– Stephen Moss
"Gentle, playful, poetic and profound, Steven Lovatt reminds us of the beauty, solace and song to be found in all our neighbourhoods"
– Patrick Barkham