Atlantic Gannet
Birders - Tales of a Tribe

Birders - Tales of a Tribe

Mark Cocker

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, for birds, Birders is the story of this community, of its characters, its rules, its equipment (only a certain type of notebook will do) and its adventures - often hilariously funny, Birders is also a work of love - the story of what birds can do to the human heart.

"At last! An up-to-date examination of what makes birders tick. And about time too! Wonderfully written."

 - Bill Oddie.

Birders is crammed full of wonderful tales, facts and insights into this rarefied and obsessional life ... Did you know...?

...Since Archaeopteryx first appeared on earth 145 million years ago, birds have spread and radiated outwards as a life form until there are now about 10,000 recognised species.

...Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the helicopter claimed he got many of his best ideas from watching hummingbirds.

...The pursuit of rare birds is called twitching, so called because a certain Howard Medhurst in the late fifties used to ride pillion on a Matchless 350 in all weathers to obtain sightings of British rarities. As a consequence the birding trip became known as 'being on a twitch.' The saying became so popular that it found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary and Britain's prototype twitcher has apparently been embarrassed ever since!

...At the last count there were 148,684,606 birds breeding in Britain, and after the breeding season there will be over 500 million present in the country. That's more than eight birds for every single one of us.

...During courtship flights, the wing beat of a hummingbird can reach levels of two hundred beats a second. 230 pages.

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