In Birds of a Feather, an informative and beautifully illustrated book, Colin Rees and Derek Thomas portray the changing seasons in the UK and US, bringing their observations together with some startling results. With images by artists Robert Gillmor and Ian Rees, the book will appeal to anyone with an interest in birds and their future in North America and the UK.
Exploding flocks of Snow Geese rising from icy fields; the arrival of the osprey; the harmonies of the dawn chorus; migrating waders racing south before the surf – these are but a few moments evoking the sights, sounds and colours of the passing seasons observed and recorded over a year by two experienced ornithologists living on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the context of their gardens, neighbourhoods and in larger landscapes, Colin Rees and Derek Thomas provide a month by month account of their birding year, commenting upon what they see and hear. They also consider how our world is radically changing the lives of birds. Birds of a Feather celebrates the gentle patter of raindrops, the scent and luminescence of spring, swallows of an evening and the first flight of young ospreys. They take the reader on walks through grasslands, forests, marshes, estuaries and along coasts and describe the effects of changing weather on flora and fauna, the unfolding of the breeding season, bird counts, the character of birders and bird organizations in the US and UK. They also address the challenge of conservation in the modern world.
Over 45 million people consider themselves bird watchers in the US and 20 million watch birds in the UK making this book appealing to bird watchers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Advanced praise for Birds of a Feather
‘The joys of the seasons are deep in our souls. Gilbert Whites classic The Natural History of Selborne shared his astute diaries of nature’s calendar. Edwin Way Teale’s acclaimed books on the American Seasons inspired a generation of naturalists on this side of the” pond”. Birds of a Feather now engages us in much the same way through the superior powers of observation and charming prose of two pals, here and there.’ – Frank Gill, formerly Philadelphia Academy of Sciences and Vice-President, Science, National Audubon Society.
‘Birds of a Feather is a poignant and moving reminder of how experiences of wildlife can grip the human soul and linger in our memories. Two friends thousands of miles apart share with us moments they will never forget. Their consciousness of, and love for, the natural world brings even the most unexpected places to life.’ – Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive The Wildlife Trusts.
‘This book will be a great read for birders from either side of the Atlantic who normally experience the birds of the “other side” through short trips during peak seasons. The book provides a flavour of the year-round diversity of species and habitats through the eyes of two experienced birders who understand how seasonal change drives the bird movements that make birding so much fun. The trans-Atlantic comparisons of two amazing birding locations throughout the year make this an even more compelling read.’ – Mike Parr, Vice President for Program Development, American Bird Conservancy
‘’The annual rhythms of nature provide a ceaseless flow of variety and change to our natural environment that stimulate and inspire us, wherever we live. Observing birds is surely one of the most engaging ways to enjoy the year’s natural cycle, with bird migrations each spring and autumn delivering the colour and sounds of the tropics and the Arctic directly to us. Birds of a Feather takes us, via delightful personal accounts, through the ornithological year on both sides of the Atlantic, juxtaposing the rich coastal plain of the Chesapeake Bay with the rocky coast, plains and mountains of South Wales. Along the way are valuable reminders that birds in both regions, and across the globe, are at risk from a similar array of threats, including habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.’ – David Curson, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Maryland-DC
‘This delightful dialogue, back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, demonstrates that wildlife is a shared pleasure wherever we live.’ – Mark Avery, former Head of Conservation at RSPB, now a freelance environmental consultant and journalist.
The book features illustrations by Robert Gillmor (cover art) and Ian Rees (interior illustrations)
Robert Gillmor is an English artist, ornithologist and illustrator and one of the founders of the Society of Wildlife Artists of which he is a past president. He has contributed to over 100 books, is a 2001 recipient of the medal from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and his work is the subject of numerous museum collections. He recently designed seven sets of Royal Mail postage stamps and over many years has designed many of the book jackets for the New Naturalist Library in the U.K, published by Collins.