Guests of Summer tells the story of the House Martins of a small Dutch village, and the historic and contemporary connectedness of lives, both of birds and people.
The journey begins from the comfort of a chair in Piersma's garden. Intrigued by the martins nesting on his house and the other swallow-like birds in the village, he begins to explore what it is like to be a House Martin. In doing this, Piersma weaves a tapestry that connects Anglo-Saxon migrations, Shakespeare's writings, political upheaval in the Congo, climate change and the big and frightening downsides of ongoing agricultural intensification. He does this using our aerial insectivores, the martins, swallows and swifts, as the most inspiring of "canaries" in the global coal mine.
"This book by Theunis Piersmsa, is a brilliant insight into the history of not just House Martins but the whole Hirundinidae family. The book does really make you think about how much you could contribute to the science of Natural History by watching birds around your local patch. My Dad & I are doing a House Martin Survey ourselves and this book answers some of the questions we had but also prompts many others. This is a brilliant book for all ages to read, with plenty of information that will make you think twice the next time you see a House Martin or Swallow hawking over your local fields or lake."
– Toby Carter, BTO book reviews