Sunday book review – Songs of Love & War by Dominic Couzens

It’s quite difficult to tell what this book is about from its title, its prologue or from its dust jacket.  You might be misled into thinking that it is mostly about bird song, but it isn’t.  It dips into various aspects of bird behaviour and mixes these accounts with the author’s personal observations of birds over several decades.

The various chapters touch on bird song, migration, dominance hierarchies, mate selection, roosting etc.  I particularly liked the chapter entitled ‘Recreating the Pastoral Symphony‘.

I learned some interesting things about Blackbirds feeding on lawns that I was thinking about yesterday when watching Blackbirds feeding on lawns.  This book will help you understand more about your everyday bird observations.

The dust jacket states that this book is more than an inside look (what does that mean?) into bird behaviour but it is also a personal journey by the author.  I couldn’t quite see that myself and was mightily relieved that it wasn’t! Spare us from personal journeys please.

No, this is a pleasant read about birds and it forms an interesting introduction to some aspects of bird behaviour and encourages the reader to get more fully informed through its bibliography.

The subtitle of ‘the dark heart of bird behaviour’ is rather naff.

Songs of Love & War: the dark heart of bird behaviour by Dominic Couzens is published by Bloomsbury.


Inglorious: conflict in the uplands by Mark Avery is published by Bloomsbury – for reviews see here.

Remarkable Birds by Mark Avery is published by Thames and Hudson – for reviews see here.

Behind the Binoculars: interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers by Mark Avery and Keith Betton is published by Pelagic – here’s a review and it’s now out in paperback.

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1 Reply to “Sunday book review – Songs of Love & War by Dominic Couzens”

  1. Thanks for the review, Mark. I was unaware of this book.
    Looks it might be useful.


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