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The Genius of Birds – Book of the Week Seven

Genius of Birds

Why Birds really are Genius

This week’s bird book is an international offering and includes birds from around the globe. Jennifer Ackerman takes you on a non-stop journey into the incredible behaviour of birds from many countries.

 Jawdroppingly intelligent, birds can memorise thousands of songs, hide tens of thousands of seeds (in different places!) and even use tools to get the things they want. Ackerman shines a torch of the most remarkable avian behaviours and you cannot fail to be amazed.

We may think that all birds do is look for food and sing in the trees but, in fact, the social structures an interactions are far more advanced than many people realise, says Ackerman.

In fact, birds:

  • eavesdrop
  • Give gifts
  •  Tease
  • Console
  •  and all sorts of other behaviour!

You’ll soon discover that you’ve more in common with your garden birds than you’d ever imagined!

With illustrations, Ackerman brings to life the science and studies into these birds through anecdotes and vivid writing. You’ll be looking at all birds differently after you’ve read this; we are!

Piping Plover and its Chick

Everyone with an interest for birds or just nature writing in general will find this a truly fascinating read. For centuries people have believed that birds were of limited intelligence but Ackerman reveals that they are, undoubtably, amazingly clever and inventive.

Read an Excerpt here on The Literary Hub!

If you want to know more about Jennifer Ackerman and about her process of writing this absorbing book, you can read a fantastic interview with her in The Scientific American here. 

The Genius of Birds is published by Penguin and came out in 2016. It would make an excellent Christmas gift for a curious mind who’s fascinated by birds. We love this book and hope you do too!

For even more information, you can listen to an interview with Ackerman on NPR here!

Check out this wonderful book here.


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Bird Book of the Week – WEEK SIX

Matt Sewell Our Woodland Birds

Our Woodland Birds by Sewell, Matt (2014) Hardcover

Week One of our Bird Book of the Week series as also a Matt Sewell book and this time we’re revisiting his phenomenal work with Our Woodland Birds.

This book is filled with Sewell’s beautiful watercolour illustrations of British woodland birds. We’ve included it because many people live in rural Britain and near woodlands where these birds are likely to either visit your garden or be seen on local walks.

Each double page spread has a detailed and endearing illustration of a bird with the whisical yet accurate description across the page.

No one could possible fail to fall in love with this exquisite book!

Sewell specialises in hilarious descriptions of the birds he loves. It’s clear that each is born out of long and in-depth study of our local birds.

Each bird is easy to recognise despite its watercolour rendering and the descriptions will make you revisit the book time and time again.

Birds inside include:

  • Goshawk
  • Nuthatch
  • Moorhen
  • Woodcock
  • Woodlark
  • Tree Pipit
  • Waxwing
  • Fieldfare
  • Black Redstart
  • Tawny Owl
  • and even the ring-necked parakeet!

Published by Ebury and available as a hardcover (we recommend this one because it’s a book that should be admired in hard copy) and as an eBook. Its dimensions are 14.3 x 1.5 x 19.2 cm so it’s not an outsized book and fits neatly in the bookshelf.

A perfect gift or coffee table book, this is a must-have for anyone living near woodland.

Click HERE to buy from Amazon

and have it in front of you in no time at all!

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Bird Book of the Week – WEEK FIVE

Secret Lives of Garden Birds

The Secret Lives of Garden Birds by Dominic Couzens

Another fantastic garden bird book from the RSPB, The Secret Lives of Garden Birds is a wonderfully and captivating look at why your birds are doing what they do.

Our gardens are full of birds behaving in strange ways, from sitting atop ants’ nests to dancing wildly around the lawn with their wings spread. Just what are they up to? Dominic Couzens reveals just what these cheek fellows get up to behind the scenes as well as those behaviours we see out in the open.

Month by Month

Taking the reader through the year month by month, Couzens gives an in-depth look at the social stratas, mating habits, territorial disputes and hilarious dramas of our garden birds. Turn off the soap opera, grab a chair by the conservatory windows and open up to the first chapter; you’ll be hooked!

Full of illustrations, photographs and easy to read yet detailed text, this book will have you laughing out loud and going ‘ahhh, so that’s what they’re doing!’ Suitable for anyone with an interest in garden birds, this is exactly the type of book you’ll be plucking off the shelf every other day to look at.

Get to know exactly what your community of garden birds is really doing with the fantastic The Secret Lives of Garden Birds.


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Bird Book of the Week – WEEK FOUR

my first bird book

My First Book of Garden Birds (RSPB) – by Sarah Whittley and Mike Unwin

A Picture Book

We love garden birds and presumably you do to. There’s simply nothing more satisfying to know that you’ve got a healthy community of birds enjoying and feeding from your garden. Who needs approving neighbours when the proof is in the ten birds on your feeders each day?

But us adults aren’t the only ones to love garden birds. In fact, these are often the first birds (that aren’t pigeons) that children see. Watching these cheeky little creatures hop about the garden and search for food is a fantastic way for kids of all ages to begin to understand the natural world.

This picture book from the RSPB is an excellent guide for children aged 2 to 7. With its beautifully illustrated pictures and guessing theme, young children will soon be shouting ‘Robin!’ when they see that little red-breasted chap on the fence.

This is a great book for very young children as they get to look at the pictures and then guess what the bird is. For slightly older children, not only will they enjoy learning what the most common birds are but it could even spark a real interest in birdwatching and the outside world. And let’s face it, anything that gets kids outside must be good!

Check out this wonderful book from the RSPB and ignite a love of nature within the children in your life.


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Bird Book of the Week – Week Three

birdsong book

Birdsong: 150 British and Irish birds and their amazing sounds

birdsong book


This week we’re looking at Birdsong, a genuinely incredible bird book that not only gives you in depth information about all sorts of birds, it plays their songs too!

With 150 different birds and their calls and songs, this musical hardback book is complete with detailed photographs. Including popular birds like robins, wrens and blue tits, this book also features birds like cuckoos, osprey and redwings.

Very easy to use and select songs, each page has a three digit code which you can type in to the buttons at the side in order to hear the bird’s song! Running of AAA batteries, this book can be used for years.

Each bird has a double page spread, with detailed text on one page and a beautiful colour photograph on the other. High quality and a solid hardback, this is a gift for adults, children and even yourself.

The perfect coffee table book for anyone who appreciates birds, this amazing soundbook is an absolute must have.

Get your copy now at a great price from Amazon.



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Bird Book of the Week – WEEK TWO

RSPB Pocket Bird Guide

Welcome back to the Bird Book of the Week feature! We hope you enjoyed last week’s look at Matt Sewell’s fantastic and heartwarming watercolour book Our Garden Birds. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here.


RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds 2nd Edition – by Simon Harrap

Compact and detailed, this pocket bird identification guide is ideal for carrying with you on walks and hikes. With 215 featured birds, this guide covers all the most common birds you’re likely to see, including those that live mostly in gardens.

Fully illustrated, each picture is very detailed and includes not just adult plumage but often juvenile as well and seasonal feather changes. A particularly useful feature is the information about which other birds a bird is liable to be mistaken for.

Each bird also has a distribution map, showing you where the species can be found as well as detailed information on breeding, eating habits, typical behaviour, migration and conservation. You can see what the bird looks like in flight as well as the size of the birds, both very useful for identifying tricky species.

As you would expect from an RSPB product, this is very easy to use, well laid out and written very clearly. As a pocket book it’s very indispensable and fits easily into a coat pocket or the glovebox of your car.

So if you’ve been scratching your head over that little brown mottled fellow exploring your bird table, or that long-tailed ball of feathers clinging to your bird feeder, now’s the time to get yourself the RSPB’s pocket guide book. It’s cheap, it’s detailed, and it’ll contain most of your feathered friends!


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Bird Book of the Week – WEEK ONE

Matt Sewell Our Garden Birds

Bird books increase our understanding of these wonderful garden visitors and teach us how to aid in their breeding, feeding and conservation. They also provide us with stunning photographs and illustrations of our favourite neighbourhood singers.

So from now on we’ll be running a weekly featured bird book!

From identification guides to incredible artwork, check back each Sunday to see the best bird books out there.


Our Garden Birds by Matt Sewell

This is one of the most heart-warming garden birds books you’re ever likely to find and makes for a great gift to a loved one as well as to yourself!

Featuring 52 watercolour garden birds, Sewell has delicately painted one for each week of the year and his paintings are bound to mesmerise you.

Complete with hilarious and adorable descriptions, this is a book that will keep you laughing all weekend and you’ll soon be pointing at the blue tit in your garden and saying, ‘yes, yes, that’s right! He is plucky and resourceful!’

Suitable for adults and children alike, this will inspire anyone to spend more time watching the birds and maybe even inspire you to get out those old watercolours in the back of the cupboard! Sewell’s sheer love of birds shines through in every page, every painting and every description and he really will make you laugh out loud.

So if you’re looking for something simply beautiful and charming to add to your coffee table or to give to a bird loving friend, we are Garden Birdlife can truly recommend Sewell’s Our Garden Birds. We challenge you not to be utterly touched by each page!

This wonderful book is available on Kindle or in hardcover but, simply put, the Kindle just can’t do it justice. While the Kindle version can be read on a tablet, it’s just not as enjoyable as a true hardback book where the illustrations truly come alive. But here’s a tip: the price is only a teeny bit different!