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Editor reviews

An obsessively maintained bird diary or field notes aren't necessary prerequisites for loving birds, as bird writer and humorist Simon Barnes proves in A Bad Birdwatcher's Companion. Gently and amusingly narrated by Barnes himself, this audiobook is an unpretentious and helpful guide for anybody who takes pleasure from simply gazing out the window at a beautiful bird. Offering simple identifying features of 50 common British birds alongside playful observations on bird character, the best feature of this audiobook is a recording of each of the birds' songs, giving listeners a chance to compare these calls to what they hear outside.

Summary

Simon Barnes is one of Britain's leading bird writers and humorists. His weekly column in The Times (London), his essays for the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) magazine, and his two books on bad bird-watching have made him one of the characters of the bird world.

Here, he reads his own illuminating introductions to the 50 main birds of Britain, supported by the distinguishing bird song of each species. He not only gives helpful identifying features, but enriches them with whimsical observations on their characters and tendencies. It is a delightful text, superbly presented by the author himself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2007 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2007 Naxos Audiobooks

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What listeners say about A Bad Birdwatcher's Companion

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great birdwatching book!

Wasnt sure what to expect from this audio book - but always like it when read by the author so decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did. In fact I have only just finished it and I'm going straight back to start it again. I have Iearnt so much and I find I remembered more by listening rather than by reading-just my style of learning I suppose. It is beautifully read and the passion of the author shines through. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in the natural world. Brilliant!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jo
  • 14-01-13

I've learnt loads from this

Wasn't sure if it was worth getting this, even though I'm interested in birds, as I'm a/generally wanting a novel to listen to and b/ reasonably adept at recognising the 'most obvious birds'. But it is brilliant. I found it wonderful upon first listening and have come back to it repeatedly to re-listen. It's the only book I've kept on my MP3 player - for over a year now - so that I can reference it.



I can now recognise the call of a number of birds without laying my eyes on them. I can recognise the flight or behaviour patterns of some others, and know some interesting little facts about many more. I'm not sure how easy it'd be to follow if you didn't have a clue what the birds looked like in the first place. But Simon Barnes' delivery and gentle sense of humour combine to make his book very enjoyable to listen to, as well as very good to learn from.

9 people found this helpful

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Something to listen to again and again

What did you like most about A Bad Birdwatcher's Companion?

I am relatively new to birdwatching and this was a nice way to brush up on some facts about our most common species. I especially like that there is a recording of song for each bird and this has already been useful to me in by birdwatching.

What about Simon Barnes’s performance did you like?

I liked the conversational tone and found the performance very engaging. I will definitely listen to this book again.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Towards the end of the book there is mention of the necessity of conservation efforts and an encouragement to support organisations such as the RSPB. I am already an RSPB member but these chapters made me keen to do more.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful listen

If you love birds and want to begin to identify them, then this book is great. wonderfully charming and keeps a grin on your face when he describes birds that you always wanted to know more about!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Loved this book. Great for amateur bird watches. A relaxing listen. You won't be disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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A plethora of birds

As a very keen indifferent birdwatchers this is very inspirational and will help me name names as well as make the pilgrimages to birding places to see and hear the birds on my wish list. I still remember a quote from the Wife of Bath's tale "as the bittern bombeth in the mire" Simon Barnes did not quote it, but he had other quotes and music to illustrate various birds he listed and how they have been woven into our music and literature

I share his enthusiasm for birds if not birding and to see and hear birds and their song can elevate a day from good to great. I hope this and his other books will encourage others too.

3 people found this helpful

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Helpful and entertaining

Really enjoyed listening to this and found it very informative, interesting and entertaining. The only thing - and this may be an ‘audible ‘ thing is that the chapters are numbered but not named and so if you want to go to a chapter on a particular bird you have to make a note of which number chapter it was in.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book!

Highly recommend, this is a great starter book for bird enthusiasts and it's one of the few books I'd recommend for the narration - when done (well) by authors, there's nothing better.

I've only just started the book, and this is the first time I've felt compelled to immediately write a review. It's engaging, not fatiguing on the ears (as so many audiobooks are I find) and actually a lovely listen (possibly because the author-narrator is himself a listener) and really inspires one to birdwatch!

It approaches the subject matter methodically yet poetically, and the valuable information about how to recognise birds by their appearance, song, habitat, and behaviour is delivered in such a way that it doesn't feel like instruction, and with a good enough narrative telling that the material is easy to recall (when you need it, in the field).

Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

a fantastically encouraging book

As a person who has been recently engulfed by the wonder of birding I want to thank the author for an informative and enthusiastic glimpse into his birding world. This book is clear, full of easy to access tips and advice. A great listen, possibly when accompanied by a search engine for images or a quiet personal reflection on birds seen and the wealth of birds still to see with places to see them ,it widens your birding horizons.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable but oblivious

There’s a lot to recommend this book - it’s interesting and you do learn a lot about birds. The tone is friendly and approachable, and quite funny at times. But the author seems strangely oblivious to his own assumption of ‘normal/default = male’. (White, too: in a discussion of prejudice it appears that he automatically assumes his readership is white). The reader (“the bad birdwatcher”) is referred to repeatedly as ‘he’; and birds too are referred to as ‘he’ unless a specifically female bird is being discussed. And I don’t imagine the author or editor have even given this a second thought, which is irritating. I hope they’ll alter things in future editions - it wouldn’t take much - after all, why not use ‘it’ for a bird, if you’re not only talking about one sex specifically? And why not use ‘they’ - or ‘he or she’ for the reader? It would be so easy, and not negate 50% of the readership!

1 person found this helpful