341 pages, 50 b/w illustrations
One of our most eloquent nature writers offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in. As well as exploring how birds achieve the miracle of flight; why birds sing; what they tell us about the seasons of the year and what their presence tells us about the places they inhabit, The Meaning of Birds muses on the uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese, and the strangeness of feeling sentimental about blue tits while enjoying a chicken sandwich. From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Charles Darwin toward his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of contemporary climate change, Simon Barnes explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a bird – and the myriad ways in which birds can help us understand the meaning of life.
"Finely illustrated and wonderfully tactile"
– NFU Countryside
"A well written, heartfelt book about the wonders of birds"
– Nudge Book
"He is a fine professional writer who enjoys his craft"
– Bird Watch
"Barnes infuses this playful, conversational exploration of the relationship of birds to humanity with a sense of well-informed wonder [...] This is a generous volume in which Barnes unabashedly shares his affinity for "anyone with birding in the blood""
– Publishers Weekly
"Barnes' fascination with the avian world is at the heart of this book, a passion shared through engaging, often lively and always conversational text"
– BBC Wildlife
"Eclectic and often witty volume that aims to show how birds live their lives and in doing so, how they've touched on ours"
– BBC Countryfile (Great gifts for book lovers this Christmas)
"A celebration of birds and how they help us understand the world we live in"
– Nature's Home
"A wise and witty celebration of birds"
– The Countryman
"He has an eye for the telling detail [...] a very attractive range of reference [...] More seriously, he has particularly important points to make about the way birds define places and are in turn defined by them, about the deep human responses to birdsong and the avian capacity for flight, and about our special fascination with raptors"
"A heartfelt celebration of birds – and of their ability to draw us into the world beyond humanity"
– Reader's Digest
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Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning former chief sportswriter for The Times. He is also a novelist, nature writer and horseman, and the author of over 20 books, including the bestselling How to be a Bad Birdwatcher.