Review: Low-Carbon Birding

I will hold my hand up at the outset to the fact that I still do too much car based birding, and will fly to Shetland as it’s cheaper than getting a cabin to yourself on the overnight ferry. But reducing carbon emissions is something all birders need to think about, as otherwise we are indirectly driving the subject of our passion towards extinction.

I must also admit that I asked for this as a Christmas present from family for rather more prosaic reasons. I’ve mentioned in a couple of blogposts on here that the quality of writing about birding in Britain appears to be deteriorating. Knowing of several of the contributors to this anthology I thought it might be more thoughtful and erudite than some of the other current birding literature.

And I am pleased to be able to say that generally it is. There’s some excellently written inspirational chapters among the 31 offerings outwith Javier’s Introduction and Afterward. Some of the stuff in here is genuinely educational and inspirational. I say ‘generally’ because it feels some contributions are from less talented writers but overall the standard is high.

The book includes illustrations by Alan Harris. If you’re familiar with his work you won’t be disappointed, they are excellent. In my view though the book would be enhanced if there were more of these vignettes. The ten pages of notes on contributors could have been sacrificed, but there is also plenty of white space at the end of many chapters that could have been used.

Other quibbles are minor. One contributor other than the editor gets two chapters, it’s not clear why and one of these is on the dry side. By the end some of the messages get a bit repetitive, but generally the reflections offered are sufficiently delineated and readable. Recommended, and as ever my copy is available to borrow if anybody wants to read it.

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