Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Two Bird Books

Here are two of my favourite bird books. They aren't particularly academic; but they are quite fascinating.

Somebody gave me The Bird Table Book, by Tony Soper. I think it's a good, rudimentary little book providing the reader with plenty of information about most of our garden birds.

I acquired my second, older book in a second-hand book-store - I think in North Street, Belfast. It is entitled Our Garden Birds, and it's written by H Mortimer Batten. It was first published in 1930 and my hard-back cost five shillings in old money.

This book contains lovely, full-page colour plate sketches of most garden birds and many more. My book has occasional hand-written notes along-side some pages; it had been owned by a man of the Cloth, the Reverend J Cullen. He has written a note on the back page as follows: "calling (of) the bat and tree creeper are inaudible to many people who have not got a very sensitive ear. They both have a very high frequency".

In his chapter about the blackbird, the author writes: Personally I think the blackbird stands higher than the mavis as a songster. His sweetest notes are singularly sweet, and he flings his song forth across the morning in a carelessly chosen chaos of spontaneous notes...
The book's then owner, Mr Cullen, scribbled at the side: "Exactly the opinion of the late Rev. W Butterly" (or Battersby; it's a bit illegible). The mavis is, incidentally, a colloquial term for the song thrush.

Whatever I paid for this book, and it wasn't much, it was worth it. It may have been £4.


Tonymac said...

A neighbour of mine claims to encounter many unusual species in our environs - everything from an Eagle Owl who steals his cats to the Pink-footed goose that eats his bananas. His recent rants refer to sightings of a Great Spotted Woodpecker - a bird that has apparently not frequented these parts for quite some time. None of the other neighbours has seen anything so we think it must be a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker!
Happy Twitching Lord Belmont and don't let the Buzzards get you down like the unfortunate chap in this following news link. (although he is a lawyer and he'll probably sue )


Tonymac said...


Tonymac said...

3rd time lucky?


Timothy Belmont said...

A fine anecdote. Tonymac. Thanks.