ISBN 10: 1784270504 / ISBN 13: 9781784270506
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How and why did our most acclaimed birdwatchers take up birding? What were their early experiences of nature? How have their professional birding careers developed? What motivates them and drives their passion for wildlife? How many birds have they seen?

Mark Avery and Keith Betton, passionate birdwatchers and conservationists, interview members of the birdwatching community to answer these and many other questions about the lives of famous birdwatchers. They take you behind the scenes, and behind the binoculars, of a diverse range of birding and wildlife personalities.

Behind the Binoculars includes interviews with: Chris Packham, Phil Hollom, Stuart Winter, Lee Evans, Steve Gantlett, Mark Cocker, Ian Wallace, Andy Clements, Mike Clarke, Debbie Pain, Keith Betton, Roger Riddington, Ian Newton, Steph Tyler, Mark Avery, Stephen Moss, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, Rebecca Nason and Robert Gillmor.

Editorial reviews

"The real common thread, however, is a love of birds and a determination to make a life devoted in some way to their enjoyment, study or conservation. All the interviewees have found the same early fascination but have then moulded it according to their talents, circumstances and opportunities to make a genuine and lasting contribution. Birds, it would seem, can take you anywhere." --Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert

"The variety of personalities interviewed in this book demonstrates nicely that there are many different kinds of birdwatcher, each engaging with our birds in a different way - and so there s bound to be something that chimes with anyone reading it. I was fascinated by what initially sparked each person s interest in birds and lit a fire that lasted a lifetime - it seemed to me that in all cases they were young and, like us all at that age, had very dry tinder! --Debbie Todd, BTO About Birds

Rezension: The passion of each voice in the book permeates the air. The joy of the initial discovery of birds for each subject is a wonder to read and every contributor has a point to make about the welfare of our birds or the state of conservation or the pleasure and passion derived from being in, and therefore a part of, nature. Conservation often takes the fiery enthusiasm out of its arguments and cold scientific statements about the state of the world can leave a non-conservationist audience unmoved. This passionate book does more for conservation in one reading than many dry academic papers on the dangers that surround our birds today; for passion energises a reader, passion makes us want to engage, passion makes us desire and want to bring about change. Those in positions of conservation power, some of whom are sharing their own passion within this very book, should read this book and feel the buzz that is created by the unbridled joy of connection with nature. Harness this and then offer people a cause to support and work with and we can change the grim picture that is the state of our world's bird life. -- Ceri Levy Caught by the River For me this was a nostalgic book. I related closely to many of the stories, particularly by the older people. It was a fun book to read and should appeal to all avid birdwatchers. So take it to the cottage and curl up by the fire when the rain is heavy and enjoy. --Roy John, Canadian Field-Naturalist

Like all the best ideas, it just looks too simple. You get hold of many of the best and best-known birdwatchers in the country, then ask them a broadly similar set of questions and see what happens. What in fact results is a series of thoroughly entertaining and often very enlightening interviews with some of the names that have made British birding what it is. As with any selection of that sort, you can quibble about inclusions and omissions, but I daresay further volumes might put some of those arguments to bed. Their inclusion of themselves might raise a few eyebrows, too, but both merit it on their birding and ornithological achievements, and their answers also throw new light on why they ve asked the questions they have. Although each interview begins from the same set of questions, Avery and Betton do a great job of following up on each person s interests, making each piece a highly individual profile, and they also get to the heart of what made each one a birdwatcher not just the initial spark, but the ongoing passions. I thought I knew a few of the interviewees reasonably well, but I was wrong! There s plenty of interesting trivia, too. Which Bird Watching contributor, for example, would pick Zulu as his favourite film? Which one would avoid jazz and blues? It all adds up to a great book for dipping into one interview at a time enjoy! --Matt Merritt, Birdwatching Magazine

The interviewees have different ideas about how the future of birding will develop, but all apparently expect that human fascination with birds will be undiminished. Behind the Binoculars is a thoroughly charming celebration and affirmation of that fascination. --Nigel Hopper, IBIS

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