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Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and…

Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience

by Jeremy Mynott

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Much like The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology, this book is dense and overflowing with information. Sadly, I wasn't able to finish this one, either, before I had to return it to the library. I will say that I enjoyed Mynott's writing style more than Birkhead's, possibly because Mynott brings a literary background (former chief executive of Cambridge University Press) compared to Birkhead's science background (he's an avian ecologist). But I also preferred how this book was organized, too. I still skipped around in the text, but I think I'll probably check it out again in the future and finish it up. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
I thought it would be more about birds, but it was more about bird watching, and the focus was the UK so I didn't recognize the birds. I would have finished it but it was overdue.
  franoscar | Jan 22, 2010 |
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The author's knowledge of birding literature, including bird-related poetry (Keats), fiction (Dickens), and classical literature (Greek mythology, Shakespeare), is mind-boggling and somewhat intimidating, but enlightening. His lengthy discussions on the bird musings of some of the most celebrated British and American nature-writers--John Clare, Gilbert White, Thoreau, Audubon--are insightful, original, and rewarding...

Ultimately, Birdscapes is just the volume for birders who welcome literate, thought-provoking writing, or are just trying to understand their own love of birds.

Princeton University Press, 2009. 367 pages, 9.4 x 6.5 inches, $29.95.

Bird Watchers Digest, November/December, 2009

added by MsMixte | editBird Watchers Digest, Elizabeth J. Rosenthal
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In her memoir "The Open Cage" Phoebe Raddings explains how she herself didn't realize she had the disability of deafness, so well had she compensated by lip-reading and other means, until she was told about it by her parents at the age of eleven.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691135398, Hardcover)

What draws us to the beauty of a peacock, the flight of an eagle, or the song of a nightingale? Why are birds so significant in our lives and our sense of the world? And what do our ways of thinking about and experiencing birds tell us about ourselves? Birdscapes is a unique meditation on the variety of human responses to birds, from antiquity to today, and from casual observers to the globe-trotting "twitchers" who sometimes risk life, limb, and marriages simply to add new species to their "life lists."

Drawing extensively on literature, history, philosophy, and science, Jeremy Mynott puts his own experiences as a birdwatcher in a rich cultural context. His sources range from the familiar--Thoreau, Keats, Darwin, and Audubon--to the unexpected--Benjamin Franklin, Giacomo Puccini, Oscar Wilde, and Monty Python. Just as unusual are the extensive illustrations, which explore our perceptions and representations of birds through images such as national emblems, women's hats, professional sports logos, and a Christmas biscuit tin, as well as classics of bird art. Each chapter takes up a new theme--from rarity, beauty, and sound to conservation, naming, and symbolism--and is set in a new place, as Mynott travels from his "home patch" in Suffolk, England, to his "away patch" in New York City's Central Park, as well as to Russia, Australia, and Greece.

Conversational, playful, and witty, Birdscapes gently leads us to reflect on large questions about our relation to birds and the natural world. It encourages birders to see their pursuits in a broader human context--and it shows nonbirders what they may be missing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:30 -0400)

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