Wednesday 1 March 2023

Wild Hares and Humming Birds by Stephen Moss



Subtitled 'the natural history of an English village' this is a diary of nature observations in a small area of England.

Stephen Moss lives in a small village in Somerset, in the south-west of England. This book is his closely observed diary of nature through the seasons of one year. (The hummingbirds of the title refer to humming bird hawk moths, which are increasingly found in the UK).

The book is full of beautifully observed scenes, many of them focussed on birds. The dunnock is introduced as "the wallflower of garden birds" before describing its surprisingly colourful mating habits, described here as: 

"one of the most extraordinary displays of behaviour in the whole of the bird world, involving more extra-marital affairs than a TV soap opera". 

The old-fashioned feel of a nature rich country parish is undercut by occasional notes on the decline of species:

"Some may wonder why it matters that lapwings, and many other once common farmland birds, have declined. But as well as the loss to our natural heritage, lapwings are also part of our cultural inheritance. And just as, in the words of John Donne 'any man's death diminishes me', so the loss of the lapwing, the skylark and many other familiar birds of the British countryside diminishes us too".

Books like this are vital. Full of loving detail about nature, writing like this can inspire people to learn more about nature. And the more you learn about nature, the more you love it and want to protect it. 

Wild Hares and Humming Birds by Stephen Moss, published (2012) by Vintage Books.


Jeff said...

This sounds like a good book.

Jenn Jilks said...

What a lovely-looking book.
It's rather why I blog, I think.

Lowcarb team member said...

This does sound a good book.

All the best Jan