I have been a birder for many decades and over the last few years, I have been hooked by bird photography. I have also had my struggles with my health, so the title of this book attracted me at once.
Author Joe Harkness has endured bouts of depression as well as the stresses of the life of a teacher. I, too, have struggled with depression and the stress of teaching forced me to retire earlier than I had planned.
The author gently explains how getting out birdwatching and into the fresh air, getting exercise and taking his mind off those stressors in his life literally has saved his life. Birdwatching and being out enjoying the natural environment has been to him more therapeutic than any medications or counselling could ever achieve.
This book, although it is based on birdwatching in the UK, is applicable in any country. Only the bird species will be different. The author has included many practical hints at the end of each chapter. It is a timely publication in view of the enormous stressors the vast majority of people are experiencing these days. I highly recommend it.
Note to self: get out birding more often.
Bird Therapy blog written by Joe Harkness
I saw a new bird for my Life List yesterday.
A Life List is a list of all the birds a birder has seen. A “lifer” is a bird species seen for the very first time. It is easy to add lifers when travelling in a country for the first time. It is much harder to get one in your home country. It has been several years since I added another bird to my life list. I guess I need to get out more, especially in parts of Australia I haven’t been to yet. Say, ALL of Queensland and ALL of the Northern Territory and ALL of Tasmania.
Lane Cove National Park, Sydney
I spent a few hours yesterday in one of my favourite birding spots, Lane Cove National Park in Sydney. This delightful park has many well-kept picnic areas with toilets and barbecue facilities. It is also very accessible, being about ten minutes west of Chatswood and about 20 minutes drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge (depending on traffic conditions.). I am fortunate that this park is so accessible from my son’s home in Artarmon. It is easy to see why this has become a favourite birding spot for me.
The bird in question, as shown in today’s photos, is the Rose Robin. It is a delightful bird with soft rose-coloured breast feathers. Until I saw it, I didn’t fully appreciate its delicate colouring. The females and juveniles lack the bright colours of the males, though some females may have a faint wash of pink. The birds feed on insects.
The Rose Robin has a widespread distribution, from south-east Queensland, through the eastern ranges of New South Wales, throughout southern Victoria and occasionally into South Australia.
You can read more about the Rose Robin on the Birds in Backyards site here.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of Trevor’s Birding.
It is hard to imagine that 12 years have passed since I started on this amazing journey. I had no idea at the time where it would take me.
Oh, the places I’ve been,
And the birds I have seen,
From the parrots and doves,
And the eagles above.
To ravens and crows
And finches in rows,
The lorikeets too
And kingfishers blue –
I’ve noted them all
Both big and so small.
My camera has taken
A wide range of birds,
Shown here on this blog
Along with my words.
Yes – I’ve been birding in many places on four continents and in seven countries: Australia, Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco, Spain and Malaysia. Many of the photos taken have been shared here on this site. I hope there will be many more in the years to come.
I have written over 1750 articles over those years and I am planning far more in the years to come. I have no idea how many photos I have taken, nor how many I have shared here on this site. I know that I have taken well over 10,000 photos on my camera. I estimate that I have probably shown about 4000 of them here.
On the strength of what I have written here and the photos I have shared, I have had many requests by various groups to be a guest speaker about birds. This is something I really enjoy and hope to do more of in the years to come.
Instead of writing about a particular bird today, I am going to finish this article by posting some of my favourite photos.
Most keen birders will have any number of field guides within easy reach. Some of them will be on their bookshelves, others are probably scattered around the house, and there is quite probably one or two in the car and/or caravan. I have one in each of our cars, so no matter which car we are in, a field guide like the one pictured above is within easy reach. Even non-birders – that rare breed of people who only occasionally look at birds – will have at least one bird guide lurking on their bookshelf. Over the years I have reviewed some of these guides on this site – just type ”
Even non-birders – that rare breed of people who only occasionally look at birds – will have at least one bird guide lurking on their bookshelf. Over the years I have reviewed some of these guides on this site – just type “reviews” or “books” or “field guides” in the search box.
Other bird books
Books about birds are not confined to just field guides. There are thousands of other titles out there which are all about birds. I recently came across a list of titles in an article called A Birder’s Bookshelf: Essentials for the well-read Avian Enthusiast. I must admit that I have only ever heard of two of the titles listed, This is because the list is centred on American titles (though there is one Australian title) and my bookshelves show that my collection is more inclined towards Australia, but not exclusively.
The following is a list of the books on my shelves, or books I have read, which I would recommend as good reads. I should point out that there are no field guides on this list – don’t be fooled by the first title; it’s a novel. The first two titles have links to my reviews.
- A Guide to the Birds of East Africa: a novel by Nicholas Drayson. This is an absolute delight to read and is all about the eccentricities of the birding fraternity.
- Brushed by feathers by Frances Wood – this is a delightful, lyrical recount of the birds in the life of the author over the course of one year.
- The Birdwatcher – by William McInnes – a novel about the conflict between finding an elusive Australian bird, and developing a sound romantic relationship. Written by one of Australia’s favourite actors. it is not a soppy romance, by the way.
- Bill Oddie Unplucked: columns, blogs and musings by Bill Oddie. This laugh-a-page book in typical Oddie fashion includes many excerpts from his blog and his many newspaper and magazine columns about birds. It covers birding on most continents.
- Bill Oddie’s Gripping Yarns by Bill Oddie – similar to the last item above.
- The Malleefowl: the Bird that Builds and Incubator by H.J. Frith – this is a very old title (published in 1962) but is still an authoritative work on this amazing Australian species. I bought mine via eBay. It is a classic work.
- The Big Twitch by Sean Dooley – an exciting account of one man’s quest pitted against a continent and a calendar. Sean’s account tells how he gave up working to chase after over 700 species of Australian birds in one year.
- The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a lifelong bird-watcher by John Stott – written from the perspective of Christian faith by the well-known writer, lecturer, scholar and preacher.
Good reading. Good birding.