Book review – Looking for the Goshawk by Conor Jameson

9781408164877I liked Conor’s previous book, but I like this one even more.  Whereas in Silent Spring Revisited Conor lived through the events described but seemed, to me, to be a little detached from them, this is a book where he describes what he did, and where he went, to get to grips better with a magnificent but elusive bird.

He takes us to Berlin, Cornell, Bedfordshire, the Peak District and many other places on the trail of goshawks and those who admire, watch and protect this bird.  We are accompanied, on parts of the journey, by TH White, William Henry Hudson, William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill, and many other famous and erudite folk, but also by a bunch of Conor’s colleagues at the RSPB (where he works).

I’ve rarely seen a goshawk.  That’s not an unusual experience – or lack of  an experience.  They are not that common, but even where they are present they show themselves with more discretion than do, say, kites or buzzards.  There may be goshawks near you but you may not realise they are there.

As far as this book is concerned, you don’t need to have seen a goshawk to enjoy it.  You don’t even need to want to see a goshawk to enjoy it.  Conor’s cultured writing and enthusiasm for the natural world and the people, like him, who care about it, will carry you along through the chapters.

Nice cover to – by Darren Woodhead.

Published by Bloomsbury.



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8 Replies to “Book review – Looking for the Goshawk by Conor Jameson”

  1. Goshawks are doing better than Hen Harriers in England only because they are so elusive. Larson traps are their big problem. I have had my best views this year of adult displaying birds. What a bird. Eagle Owls are the main predator of them in Europe. Would like to review the book some day.

    1. John - yes, I guess Larson traps are their downfall, but then on the other hand they are probably responsible for part of the shift away (not far enough away) from poisoning in lowland Britain too. You win some and lose some?

  2. Just ordered my copy. If you want to see goshawks then come to Wales, they are everywhere and take my wife's chickens on a regular basis from a ground predator proof run - she is not amused. And if you want to see goshawks in action go out with a falconer - not the same as watching them hunting in the wild (almost impossible) but good enough to appreciate their amazing abilities.

  3. Lake Vyrnwy probably as good a place as any to go and find one...

    I quite agree: Darren Woodhead is terrific.

    1. Lazywell - that may be the last place I saw one. Of course they will have eaten everything else by now and started on the local children... (Sorry, couldn't resist - but maybe I should).

  4. Just ordered it, a splendid bird which I see most years but not very often either in Yorkshire or Wales. I think John is right about Larsen and crow traps, apparently very easy to take them with these and allegedly many keepers do ( Oh what a surprise). They are fantastic birds.


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