Balwyn meeting report – Member’s topic

27 January 2015

Books about birds

Long-time member Ruth Akie gave us a novel talk on Bird Books. Not the field guides we all depend on, or world compendiums, but books written to be informative and/or entertaining. Libby Robin wrote Flight of the Emu: a hundred years of Australian Ornithology(2001). Alexander (Alec) Chisholm (1890-1997), a noted journalist, ornithologist and encyclopaedist , wrote Mateship With Birds (1922), which was recently reprinted by Penguin with a foreword by Sean Dooley. It recounts diligent observations of bird life and the delight of the author. Besides his most popular field guides Graham Pizzey wrote widely on natural history for newspapers and magazines. Two of his books, Stories of Australian Birds (1983) and Journey of a Lifetime (2000) Ruth highly recommends. British journalist and ornithologist Simon Barnes has written books on many topics – birds, sport, horses, wildlife, conservation. He had a best-seller with How to be a Bad Birdwatcher (2005) followed by Birdwatching With Your Eyes Closed (2011). The latter introduces the fascinating topic of birdsong, which is also written about by David Rothenberg in Why Birds Sing (2005) and Tim Low in Where Song Began (2014).

Books describing twitchathons complement books describing where to find birds. There are novels, children’s books and how to attract birds to your garden. Ruth gave us a valuable summary of the variety of bird literature that may appeal to everyone.

Contributor: Daphne Hards. 

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