Watching Birds


by James Fisher
published by Penguin, 1946


To the ordinary human being, birds are certainly the most fascinating living creatures of the countryside. Those who find delight and interest in their world range from priests to paupers, from politicians to police. There are certainly more "amateurs" studying birds than any other comparable zoological group.

Watching Birds is written by a scientist for just such amateurs; its object is to introduce the study of birds to those who have no zoological training (as well as to those who have); and, having made the introduction, to persuade them to join the army of bird-watchers who, individually and together, have made our knowledge of British birds greater than that of the bird-life of any other country.

There is no reason at all why the ordinary man in the street should not be able to appreciate modern scientific work on birds. Most of this work is carried on on commonsense lines by biologists who realise how very useful the field bird-watcher can be to them; many of its results have already been realised by amateur naturalists and need only the scientific perspective for them to be added to the sum of human knowledge.

The keynote of this book is the description of the world of birds—as far as we are able to appreciate a world so distinct from our own— and of the methods and instruments people can use to get a better understanding of it.

It is a world that is worth understanding, for ornithology tells us much that is of vital use to zoology as a whole, and the pursuit of birds has, at once, the paradoxical attributes of sharpening the wits and relaxing the mind, consuming energy and giving rest, and satisfying both the scientific and the aesthetic facets of the mind.


- paperback: 192 pages
- product dimensions: 112 x 182 mm

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