WHOEVER would have known that the national bird of Turkey is . . . the redwing?
Or that Sweden claims the blackbird while Belgium boasts the kestrel and tiny Luxembourg the Goldcrest?
These are among many ‘factoids’ that help make The Extraordinary World of Birds - written by David Lindo (also known as the Urban Birder) - such a delightful book.
Other revelations are that a wading bird, the Senegal thick-knee, has now evolved to nest on flat rooves in cities such as Cairo. Would that our own related and rare stone curlew could be coaxed into doing the same!
Although it is written primarily for children, the likelihood is that adults (of all ages) will also be gently entertained and educated by the imaginative and amusingly-presented contents.
It is a relatively slim volume, just 80 pages, but its range is comprehensive, covering different types of habitats, from forest through marine to urban, and different types of avian activity - feeding, migration, courtship, nesting and, with some specialised species, even burrowing.
The Extraordinary World also includes sections on how to become a birder and on birds after dark - not just owls and nightjars but also singing nightingales and migrating fieldfares.
David Lindo outlines some of the threats to birds, for instance collisions with window in tall buildings, and suggests methods by which that these can be countered.
But, to his credit, he is never ‘preachy’ or patronising - the tone throughout is upbeat and bubbly. The author plainly hasn't forgotten what it was like to be a child.
"There is a world of birds outside your window," he writes. "Just take a look!"
Huge credit also to illustrator-in-chief Claire McElfatrick and all her design and production team colleagues for their superb artwork which, combined with the author's text, makes this such a vibrant and refreshing addition to bird literature.
The Extraordinary World of Birds is published at £14.99 in hardback by Dorling Kindersley, a Penguin Random House company.
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