How to be a bad birdwatcher

During my week away I read this book by Simon Barnes. I know SB from his articles in the RSPB Birds magazine and I like his style.

This book, 'How to be a bad birdwatcher' is an excellent read; well written, funny, informative and joyful.

I learned quite a bit from reading it and was inspired by how easy it is to become a 'bad' birdwatcher.

If, like me, you sometimes dispair of learning birds by their plumage or call, just read this book. How can you not be drawn in when he says"Let's compile a list of birds that you can already recognise - even if you call yourself the most ignorant birdwatcher in the land" and goes on from those dozen or so 'obvious' ones like Robin and Swan to introduce you into a world of birds both common and exotic, everyday and rare. And he gives equal weight and importance to each one and delights in them all in equal measure.

It is also a very moving, sensitive book that explores his relationship with his father.

I loved it and would recommend it to anyone. I am off to find his other books now too.

Happy reading

Pipit

  • Thanks for that recommendation, Pipit.  Sounds like something I would like to have/read.

    I've just returned from 2 weeks away in warmer climes, and back now to this cold & wintry weather   :-(

    One of the books I enjoyed whilst away was a brilliant book by David Gessner"Return of the Osprey" -   'A Season of Flight & Wonder' .   It is about the return of Ospreys in recent years to the area around Cape Cod, USA, after being almost completely decimated by the DDT scandal & other human interventions.  Very interesting and very moving account of his learning to love bird watching, and ospreys in particular.

  • In reply to Lindybird:

    Hi Pipit,

    you maybe interested in this thread regarding wildlife books. I think I mentioned Simon Barnes book here too.

    Great little read and I love his dry wit.

    http://community.rspb.org.uk/forums/t/23389.aspx

    Thanks

    Craig

    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  •  

    Hi-

     

    devil's advocate here again;

     

    I was given this book for xmas once, and my dentist, osteopath and various others all ask me if I've read it because they enjoyed it.

    I did read it then deleted it from my hard drive I think , as I dont remember any of it except that from the title on I didnt like it. I spent 2 years getting to be a good birdwatcher then 35 getting to be a good birder.

    :)

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    Simon Barnes does know his birds but I think the message from the book was too not get too engrossed and to enjoy the birds rather than stress worrying over the exact species that may have alluded you.

    Its a light hearted read on life in general and I think the title is being tongue in cheek.

    In my opinion there is nothing worse when you are sitting in a hide and someone near you has to annouce every new species that arrives; like its some kind of competiton.

    Craig

     

    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  • In reply to Craig B:

     

    But it is...................

     

    Muhahahaha!

     

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    I do find some of those birder groups fascinating to observe!

    There always seems to be a leader that directs the other group members onto the birds. haha

    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  • I got this book for my birthday recently and enjoyed it very much. It's an easy read, and took me no time at all to finish.

    The author does a great job in conveying the simple pleasure to be gained from watching birds.  In a way, it made me feel bad for the times I've come in from my local patch in a poor mood because I didn't see the rare bird others had seen there earlier in the week.

    The book could probably be summed up as "Enjoy what you see, whatever it is".

    Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.

    Dilbert

  • In reply to McAlan:

    McAlan said:

     

    The author does a great job in conveying the simple pleasure to be gained from watching birds. 

    The book could probably be summed up as "Enjoy what you see, whatever it is".

    Agreed :))  But I like to know WHAT  I'm looking at and where it's come from :)

    I took someone to Holme to show them birds being ringed- when you see a Goldcrest in the hand and realise it crossed the North sea you begin to realise what it's all about IMHO :)

    S

     

    ps- I just had a phone call from someone at Titchwell puzzling over a bird ID- after a description I was able to tell them they were watching Twite-  I GOTTA START CHARGING PREMIUM PHONE RATES :))))

     

     

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to Craig B:

     

     

    " There always seems to be a leader that directs the other group members onto the birds. haha "

     

    I shall see how the rest of the gang respond before commenting :))

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    seymouraves said:

     

     

    " There always seems to be a leader that directs the other group members onto the birds. haha "

     

    I shall see how the rest of the gang respond before commenting :))

    S

     

     

    There is a knack to this and I think its nice when people are sutle and generally engaged in that person rather than having a species name thrust upon you out of the blue by an eagar voice.

    Some people are in it for self gain reasons while others genuniely like helping out.

    I have witnessed both types.

     

    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein