Anyone can become an Urban Birder. You can do it anywhere and any time, whether you've got the day to spare, on your way to work, during your lunch break or just looking out of a window. Look up and you will see. This book is an inspirational look at the birdlife in our cities, or more accurately, the author's personal journey of discovery involving encounters with racism, air rifle-toting youths, girls, alcohol, music, finding urban wildlife oases and of course, birds.
His story is entertaining and sometimes controversial, but the one guarantee is that the reader will be left feeling inspired enough to pick up a pair of binoculars and head to the nearest park.
Self-styled 'The Urban Birder', David Lindo is a one-man ornithological phenomenon. He is a regular on TV and radio, has a flourishing website and blog, and writes for a host of magazines including BBC Wildlife, Bird Watching and the RSPB's Birds, the last of which has a readership in excess of 1 million people. He is the new cool face of birding.
The Urban Birder
by Keith Betton in the United Kingdom (24/01/2012)
The promotional publicity for this book refers to the author as "the self-styled Urban Birder" and goes on to describe him as "a one-man ornithological phenomenon". While most of us have watched birds for years and quietly seen our hobby as something to do when not working, David has cleverly turned it into his work, and barely a week goes by when he is not on TV or radio or appearing in the press talking about birds. Several friends have asked me "who is that guy?", and wondered where he has come from. The answers are in this book.
Born in London in the 1960s, David was soon interested in birds and faced a familiar challenge to anyone who talked about birds to their school friends – he was mocked. Many people have faced that problem, but being from a Jamaican family David was even more isolated because birdwatching was not something that other black people did. However he was clearly a determined kid and knew what he wanted to do, so he continued to watch birds, and he even persuaded some of his friends to join him.
Without telling the full story, this book runs through David's birding life to date, with jaunts to all corners of the UK, and trips to the USA and other foreign cities. Urban birds are featured, but this is a autobiography and is freshingly candid about the difficulties that face a pushy young birder. As a regular visitor to the causeway at Staines Reservoirs in the 1970s I too recognise David's description of the unsmiling people who would turn their backs on fresh-faced YOC members who dared to ask for information!
This book tells the story of David Lindo's life so far – during school and teenage years, through to a series of often disappointing jobs to his present role as "TUB". David is very open about his ambition to be a TV presenter. He describes how he got a lucky break and used every opportunity to get in front of the camera. If you get to appear on TV regularly it is easy to believe that you are better than you really are. What comes across in this book is that underneath it all he is a fairly ordinary bloke. Pushy? Yes. Opportunistic? Yes. Stupid? No.