birdwatching with your eyes closed is Simon Barnes’s new book, published by Short Books. It’s an introduction to birdsong and if you are a novice bird-watcher then it will help you to be an expert bird-listener.
Simon told me that ‘Learning birdsong really has changed the way I see the world. I’d love to help others to this revelation and I’ve written this book to seek converts. I’m basically in a missionary position here.‘. So just imagine that!
There’s an excellent and delightful podcast to which you can listen, and which, like the book, will take you through the year and the sounds that gradually add themselves to the voice of the robin as more birds return from Africa and more and more residents tune up for summer.
I find that on a normal walk I hear about 40% of bird species before I see them, and so getting to know birds’ songs is not only a pleasure but is essential to get the most from your encounters with nature.
On my visit to the USA earlier this year I was rather lost as a birder – I could see lots of birds and could learn what they looked like pretty easily but I needed better ears! I was a learner once again and I needed a book like this to get to grips with what I was hearing.
Simon’s book is a good place to start if you are a learner. And now is the time to start as, rather cleverly, it takes you through the year and teaches you the species one by one as they add their voices. That makes it much easier than starting with the cacophony of a May dawn chorus where you can hear everything and understand nothing at first.
Readers of this blog can get this book for just £10 with no P&P if you phone 01206 255600 and quote ‘birdwatching’ (Retail price is £12.99 +P&P). That’s what I have negotiated for you and I don’t get a penny for it!
This blog is one of five blogs featuring Simon’s book this week. Tomorrow it will be the turn of Punctuated Equilibrium but here is the schedule so that you can look back to Looking for Dragons Blog, The Well-read Naturalist and dovegreyreader.