Sunday book review – An Indifference of Birds by Richard Smyth

This short book is a good read, and is a very different, but not indifferent, book.

It only amounts to just over 100 pages but there are more novel perspectives in here than you’ll find in many books three times the length. And the author writes in an engaging manner. There are five chapters (Messy Eaters; Accidental Conservationists; Movements; Home; and Things to Come) but that may not give you much of a clue about the book’s contents. The chapters each deal with some different aspects of birds’ lives and how they relate to us, and how we relate to them. Movements, for example, touches on vagrancy, introductions and reintroductions, and other things.

I don’t really want to tell you too much about the book because although there would be no plot-spoilers this is definitely a book to explore and enjoy. You may end up where you started but you will definitely know that place better for the journey.

Hen Harriers are mentioned on four of the book’s 85 pages of text – a pretty amazing hit rate for a book which travels the world and whose index ranges from Accra to Zeebrugge and from Archaeopteryx to Yellowhammer.

I don’t think this book changed my perspective on anything much but I enjoyed the author’s take on things. And I will happily go back to this book now and again. Any chapter would be a good read on its own and, like a good film, you will get something new from it each time you revisit.

An Indifference of Birds by Richard Smyth is published by Uniform books

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

www.blackwells.co.uk
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