The Hen Harrier
An acknowledged classic of narrative nature-writing, Donald Watson's The Hen Harrier was the culmination of a lifetime's study of this beautiful upland bird.
A gentle, warm and wonderfully written book, The Hen Harrier stems from an age of 'amateur' conservation, from the pen of a man who cared deeply about birds and their habitats, especially of the Scottish borders where he conducted much of his research and painting. The book was among the last of a dying breed; it would be thirty years or more before writing on our natural history would again reach the heights of accessibility to nature-lovers exemplified by Donald Watson and his peers.
The Hen Harrier starts with Watson setting down more or less everything known about harriers – which at that time often consisted of information sent by letter to the author, rather than published in a journal – before moving on to the story of Watson's years studying nests in the south-west of Scotland. With a foreword by conservation champion Mark Avery, this edition of Watson's greatest work is particularly timely. The conflict between grouse-shooting interests, which has overseen the virtual extinction of the harrier as a breeding bird in England through illegal persecution, and an increasingly vocal conservationist lobby is the number one conservation issue in Britain today. Donald Watson's narrative soars like a sky-dancing harrier throughout The Hen Harrier. Read it, and be taken back to a simpler age of nature conservation by a true master of the art.
- ISBN: 9781472946140
- Author(s): Donald Watson
- Stock Code: 2946140
- Format: HARDBACK
- Language: English
- Illustrations: Colour illustrations
- Pages: 418
- Published: 2017
33% OFFHardback £14.99RRP: £22.50Buy Now
A detailed monograph of one of Britain's rarest breeding birds of prey. The author has studied harriers for many years and writes with authority on such subjects as the history of discovery, ID, distribution in Britain and overseas, social behaviour and breeding, biology, migration, prey and conservation. Illustrated by Bruce Pearson.
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'I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird's egg'. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1862.
How are eggs of different shapes made, and why are they the shape they are? When does the shell of an egg harden? Why do some eggs contain two yolks? How are the colours and patterns of an eggshell created, and why do they vary? And which end of an egg is laid first – the blunt end or the pointy end? These are just some of the questions A Bird's Egg answers, as the journey of a bird's egg from creation and fertilisation to its eventual hatching is examined, with current scientific knowledge placed within an historical context. Beginning with an examination of the stunning eggs of the guillemot, each of which is so variable in pattern and colour that no two are ever the same, acclaimed ornithologist Tim Birkhead then looks at the eggs of hens, cuckoos and many other birds, revealing weird and wonderful facts about these miracles of nature.
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The author, over the last 20 years, has succeeded in his passion to observe and study all 16 or the world's species and single subspecies of harrier. His dogged persistence has enabled him to witness traits of behaviour previously unknown in harriers. It not only highlights the sheer majesty of harriers but helps focus our attention on their individual plight, which if left unrecognised, will result in an uncertain future for many of the species which make up this group.