It's easy to take our garden birds for granted or to assume that we know everything about them. However, one of the things I love about nature, is that there's always something new to learn. The Secret Lives of Birds, a beautiful book from the RSPB (Royal Society of Birds) sets out to reveal some of the secrets kept by ommon visitors to UK gardens.
Written by Dominic Couzens with stunning illustrations by Peter Partington and beautiful photos from a variety of photographers, this is a fascinating and beautiful book. As it says in the introduction 'The aim of this book, then, is to make you look at your familiar birds and be amazed by what they get up to."
The book takes us through the garden bird year, month by month, alerting us to what to look out for and what may be happening behind the scenes. For example:
listen out for early birdsong in January,
watch long tailed tits make their beautiful intricate nests in March (I've been lucky enough to see part of this nest building activity three times! Amazing given I've never seen any other species actually in the nest creating it, though I've often seen birds carrying nesting material).
house martins using fresh mud to repair their nests in July
how the robin changes its song in December
It also includes longer articles on individual species
why is the song thrush declining?
do magpies deserve their bad reputation?
why do tawny owls thrive in winter?
the intriguing family life of the dunnock
the feeding strategies of my favourite bird the swift
Best read in the garden, or if the weather isn't good enough or you don't have a garden, by the window. An ideal activity for the Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild Challenge!
The Secret Lives of Birds by Dominic Couzens, published by the RSPB