Richard Mabey

Birds Britannica
  • Birds Britannica

  • The British love their birds, which are inextricably entwined with every aspect of their island life. British customs, more than 1,000 years of English literature, the very fabric of society, even the landscape itself, have all been enhanced by the presence of birds. Highly acclaimed on first publication, this superb book pays tribute to the remarkable relationship forged between a nation and its most treasured national heritage.

    Birds Britannica is a unique publication of immense importance. Neither an identification guide nor a behavioural study (although both these subjects enter its field), it concentrates on our social history and on the cultural links between humans and birds.

    What makes Birds Britannica of special significance is the inclusion of observations and experiences from more than 1,000 naturalists and bird lovers. These contributions from the public touch on avian ecology; the lore and language of birds; their myths, the art and literature they have inspired; birds as food; and the crucial role they play in our sense of place and the changing seasons.

    Birds Britannica took eight years to research and was assembled by a team that included some of the finest writers and image-makers of British wildlife. On one level, it is a remarkable collection of humorous stories, field observations and tales of joy, wonder and occasional woe; on another, it is a nationwide chronicle. Scholarly and wide-ranging, a mix of the traditional and the contemporary, Birds Britannica is a comprehensive record of birdlife in the early years of the twenty-first century. No other book has dealt so completely with the rich connections between birds and humans; Birds Britannica captures the very essence of that relationship, and explores why birds matter and why we care.

RELEASED 05/03/2020

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 book Crow Country was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2008 and won the New Angle Prize for Literature 2009. With the photographer David Tipling he published Birds and People in 2013, a massive survey described by the Times Literary Supplement as ‘a major literary event as well as an ornithological one’. Our Place: Can We Save Britians Wildlife Before It Is Too Late? was shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2019 and his most recent book, A Claxton Diary, is shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2019. Richard Mabey is 'Britain's greatest living nature writer' (The Times) and the force behind the Britannica series. His some 40 other books include his biography of Gilbert White, which won the Whitbread Biography award 1986, Nature Cure, which was shortlisted for the same award in 2005, and most recently Turning the Boat for Home: A Life Writing about Nature. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Vice-President of the Open Spaces Society.