The Twelve Birds of Christmas

The Twelve Birds of Christmas

Summary

Naturalist Stephen Moss digs beneath the surface of some of our most popular Christmas carols in an ornithological celebration of the Festive Season.

Using the structure of the carol as a jumping off point, he explores the place of twelve fascinating British birds in our history, culture and landscape. Some of the birds are obvious, there's the swan and of course the partridge. Other chapters are loose interpretations of a verse: for drummers drumming he delves into the woodpecker's distinctive drumming tap. Woodpeckers, he explains, have special padded skulls to mitigate against using its head like hammer drills. They carefully select dead trees for the most hollow, sonorous sound.

With brilliant anecdotes and insights, Stephen Moss weaves history, culture, bird behaviour and folklore into a compelling narrative for each species, tracing its fortunes over the past two centuries.

'A superb naturalist and writer' Chris Packham

'Moss has carved out an enviable niche as a chronicler of the natural world' Daily Mail

Reviews

  • A compelling narrative for each species, tracing its fortunes over the past two centuries
    The Week

About the author

Stephen Moss

Stephen Moss is a naturalist, author and broadcaster. In a distinguished career at the BBC Natural History Unit his credits included Springwatch, Birds Britannia and The Nature of Britain. His books include The Wren, The Robin, Mrs Moreau’s Warbler and Wonderland. He is the President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Originally from London, he now lives with his wife and children on the Somerset Levels.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more