| Purposeful Birdwatching – Getting to Know Birds Better | By Rob Hume | Pelagic Publishing | 2024 | Paperback | 288 pages, 100 b/w photos and b/w illustrations | ISBN:  9781784274689 |

The Publisher’s View:

‘I remember well my first Bewick’s swans, which I bumped into one November day not far from home. They looked at me, unsure whether or not to fly into the fog, as I tried to get as close as I dared. … What is it, exactly, that can, many years later, recall such emotionally charged birding moments so vividly to mind? I can’t really remember my birthdays at all, but my first green woodpecker and my first jay are firmly embedded. And with some of these things, the place it happened is equally important.’

With its mix of memoir, gentle advice and enthusiastic advocacy, this book sets out a case for purposeful birdwatching. Along the way, it explains how to make your birding more enjoyable, fulfilling and worthwhile. Using ideas and techniques from his five decades of experience, Rob Hume reveals how an ever-enquiring approach to observation of the natural world can yield unexpected treasures – whether this be something rare or simply new details concealed in the apparently everyday. From the basics of equipment and methods, through the mysteries of sea-watching, to special insights on the likes of honey-buzzards and goshawks, and a focus of some iconic sites, his breadth of knowledge ensures there is something for every curious birder.

Illuminatingly illustrated throughout with the author’s sketches and fieldnotes, at its heart this is a call to appreciate birds for themselves, as individuals and as species, and not merely as numbers on a list. It will help lead beginners towards a practical and more satisfying hobby, while also being of great interest to experienced birders who will relate to the content through their own experiences.

The Author: Having watched birds since childhood, Rob Hume began a career with the RSPB doing fieldwork and finished up as editor of BIRDS magazine from 1989 to 2009. He was a member of the Editorial Board of British Birds and Chairman of the British Birds Rarities Committee. He has written best-selling bird guides and led numerous groups on wildlife holidays in Europe and Africa.

Fatbirder View:

The author invites the reader to use his work as they feel fit… read from cover to cover, browse or just dip into bits. I elected to start the read then decided this was a ‘bed-time book’; one that would not suffer from gaps between readings. What I’ve read so far is engaging and informative in equal part and some really resonates… I can’t really remember my birthdays at all, but my first green woodpecker and my first jay are firmly embedded is one such snippet. I’m clearly even more avian centric that he as I can remember those first encounters with most species better than my pin numbers and passwords… without ever having to write the former down.

I’m sure any birder will find things between the covers that evoke their own experiences and its running theme is really a plea for us to take more from less. Its not about chasing rarities and worshiping the stunners, more about appreciating the everyday.

Buy this book from NHBS