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Bill Oddie's How to Watch Wildlife Hardcover – 3 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (3 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007184557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007184552
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 19.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


‘Perfect for the gardener who loves really wild company, Bill Oddie’s How to Watch Wildlife is a great read and a very useful source of handy advice. Bill’s book will help you get that bit closer to our feathered, furry and scaly friends.’

From the Author

Why watch wildlife? Quite apart from the fact that wildlife has as much right to exist on this planet as we do, and that our very survival depends upon natural resources, I would suggest that watching - and listening, learning about and understanding - wildlife enriches our lives. If I had to choose a single word to encapsulate the wonder of wildlife, I think it would be 'variety'. Birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, marine life, flowers, trees etc. they are all wildlife. There is also variety in the way you can watch - or should I say get involved with - wildlife. It can be a hobby or a job, a pastime or an obsession. Whatever level you wish to be on, it's OK. Don't be intimidated by the difficult areas. We have tried to make this book and the TV series - how can I put it? - accessible, entertaining and informative. You may or may not wish to take things furhter. By all means remain merely a viewer or a reader. There is nothing wrong with a bit of armchair birding or botany, but I would venture to suggest that if you enjoy wildlife on the screen or page, you may find the real thing even better.
I hope this book will tell you how to watch wildlife, but - even more importantly - I hope it will help you to enjoy it. Go wild and have fun.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Is Dave there? on 11 Feb 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is essentially a hybrid. It combines the kind of practical, hands on instruction and advice found in Gerald Durrell's 'The Amateur Naturalist' with the lavish illustrations typical of the David Attenborough works like 'The living Planet'.
The book does a good job of capturing the feel of the TV programme on which it is based. It is divided into 3 main parts. In the first section, general advice is given on how to get started and what kit you are likely to need. The authors write enthusiastically and the style engenders a sense of involvement, actively encouraging you to go outside and get your hands dirty.
Part 2 consists of 12 'month' sections. Advice is given on what to look for and where for each month. I find this kind of thing a bit hit and miss. It's great if you happen to live in or near one of the areas identified on the maps, but you can feel a bit left out if you happen to live in the midlands for example. The majority of the sites identified in the book seem to be coastal. I am not sure if this is a personal preference of Mr Oddie or if the authors genuinely feel that this is where the best of Britain's wildlife is to be found.
The final part of the book provides advice on getting more involved in the wildlife 'scene' with contact organisations, web links and book recommendations. This section is perhaps a little short on content but what there is, is helpful.
Overall this book is a great armchair read that doesn't just offer advice; It enthuses you and leaves you wanting to get outside with a pair of binoculars and see for yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wildlife Bookworm on 11 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
If this book was named 'Where & When to Watch Wildlife' it would get a 5 star review. As it includes an exclelent 'wildlife calendar' of the year with the highlights of each month and where to go to spot them. This is far and away the best section of the book and is the only part that picks it out from cheaper, more obscure guides.

Unfortunately the 'How to' part, leaves a bit to be desired. It can be rather vague and superficial, at times stating the obvious without explaining deeper. Oddie also often repeats himself (Although this is forgivable as it is not a book designed to be read cover to cover).

It is undeniable that you are paying, at least to some degree, for Bill Oddie's name. And this would be fine if you were getting the same Bill Oddie on the page as you did on the TV series.

Unfortunately away from the screen he sounds much like any other wildlife writer, with barely a flash of his typical boundless enthusuasm. One gets the feeling that the book has been severely 'diluted' by Oddie's co-authors Steven Moss and Fiona Pitcher, who seemed to have managed to do the unthinkable and tame him!

However, having said this the book is filled with terrific photos and there are useful tips here and there, with some good contacts for getting ivolved.

Overall I would say this is a good book, but to get the most from it you really need to know how to watch wildlife already!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 21 Feb 2005
Format: Hardcover
Over the last half century, BBC television has established a reputation for the quality of its wildlife coverage. While much of the earlier focus was on overseas travel and the exotic, a change has been taking place. Many people now go and look at the exotic themselves. Meanwhile, there has been a growing awareness of the wealth of wildlife on our doorsteps - in the wild places, in the agricultural areas, and within the very heart of British cities.
Bill Oddie has secured a prominent role as a presenter of wildlife programmes. You sensed, at first, that he was almost embarrassed to admit - publicly - that he was a bird watcher ... as if it was some indication of moral or mental fragility. But he has presented a series of BBC wildlife programmes without ever losing his obvious enthusiasm: it's as if he still can't believe he's being paid to do something he loves.
It is the sheer joy and sense of wonder that Oddie brings to this latest series which is so vital to your enjoyment. He's a bit like John Peel in his ability to communicate - he talks directly to you, not to a million other people. You never sense he is talking down (pretty difficult in Oddie's case, admittedly): you appreciate that he has a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience ... but that his pleasure and joy in watching wildlife is not simply cerebral or escapist.
Oddie connects with the natural world in a spiritual way - in the sense that he emphasises that life and its vast variety is a source of wonder, a source of pleasure, but also an ever-changing tableau which should give you cause to sit back and give thanks for sunshine, for wind and rain, for the sheer, everyday pleasures and joys of living.
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By Puzzle crazy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover
A clear and easy to understand book with lovely pictures and great tips on how to spot different types of wildlife. I love browsing this book and learn something new each time I pick it up. Very informative and interesting, especially if you enjoy spotting rare wildlife.
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