Birders
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Birders

By (author) Mark Cocker

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Since 1972 Mark Cocker has been a member of a community of obsessional people, almost all male, who sacrifice most of their spare time, a good deal of money, sometimes their chances of a partner or family, even occasionally their lives, to watch birds. Birders is the story of this community, of its characters, its rules, its equipment and its adventures - many of which are hilariously funny, Birders is also a work of love - the story of what birds can do to the human heart.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 18mm | 158.76g
  • 05 Sep 2002
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • 0099289547
  • 9780099289548
  • 531,798

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Author Information

Mark Cocker is one of Britain's foremost writers on nature and contributes regularly to the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, as well as BBC Radio Four. His six other books deal with modern responses to wilderness, whether found in landscape, human societies or in other species. They include a biography, Richard Meinerzthagen, shortlisted for the Angel Prize and the hugely acclaimed bestseller Birds Britannica (with Richard Mabey). He recently won a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to study the cultural importance of birds in West Africa.

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Review quote

"At last! An up to date examination of what makes birders tick. And about time too! Wonderfully written" Bill Oddie "A natural history version of Fever Pitch... Reading it may even make you want to try out this strangely addictive past time for yourself" Guardian "Intensely readable, very funny and highly enlightening" New Scientist "With a mixture of well-chosen anecdotes and self-deprecating humour, Cocker succeeds in making event he most hardened cynic appreciate his passion. Birders is a stylish work in a long tradition of fine writing on the subject" Guardian "The best account yet of the "tribe" and its wonderful, unworldly passions" The Times

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Review text

For many, birdwatching is a green use of leisure time, with increasing appeal as they potter into retirement. But some start young, watching birds with obsessional and lifelong devotion. Mark Cocker, a member of this clannish fraternity and a regular Guardian Country Diarist, weaves autobiography, anecdote, fact and reflection in a winning attempt to capture the appeal and the lore of this popular pursuit. He writes well, with refreshing erudition - for example, the school of birding that subscribes to the art of 'jizz' (recognizing a bird at long distance by its essential character rather than by checking off ID features) is related to Gerard Manley Hopkins 'inscape', the 'isness' of things. Birders who work like this are the 'Zen masters' of their craft. An amiable, nostalgic account, tinged with good-humoured irony. But anyone unable to name the birds that settle in their garden will find it about as useful as a freemason's handbook. (Kirkus UK)

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