While some practice bird watching as a solitary activity, a far greater number consider the opportunity for the relaxed sociability it offers to make it ideal for pursuit in either pairs or small groups. Not surprisingly, uncountable friendships have been established through as well as strengthened around it. Some of these – such as that between Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher – have become famous throughout the bird watching community thanks to the friends committing their field activities to writing. Now in this same great tradition, Colin Rees and Derek Thomas have done likewise with their recently published book Birds of a Feather; Seasonal Changes on Both Sides of the Atlantic.
Mr. Rees, an American, and Mr. Thomas, an Englishman, collectively have more than sufficient bird watching, natural history, and professional bona fides than this humble book review can contain. However what they’ve each accomplished in their respective lives and careers is – as it almost always is in bird watching friendships – entirely secondary to the camaraderie they experience through their shared past-time. And it is this very camaraderie that they have committed to print in the form of a year-long series of short essays through which they describe for one another their observations of the changing seasons in their respective countries as well as their musings and reflections upon them.
To make the reading of these essays even more enjoyable for the reader, both Mr. Rees and Mr. Thomas both possess an exceptional level of skill as writers. Far from simply recording their observations and jotting down a few thoughts about them, their prose is rich and well-crafted, and their sense of narrative exceptionally strong, so that the resulting collection is as much a joy to read for what it contains as well as how it communicates it.
If you enjoyed such seasonal diaries as those of Peterson and Fisher, Edwin Way Teale, or Pete Dunne, you will most assuredly find Birds of a Feather very much to your liking. Should you not have read and of these works, then this new book by Messrs. Rees and Thomson will provide you with an excellent first experience in this popular and much-beloved genre of natural history literature.
Authors: Colin Rees and Derek Thomas
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd.
Format: Paperback and eBook
Published: 28 May 2014
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the book read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the publisher.