"This is a treasure, uniting history and the struggle to survive, and how birds augment our time here." --John Bird, Big Issue
"A surreal, very British comedy arises when caged men watch birds in the middle of the biggest war in history." --Mark Cocker, Guardian
"A wonderfully crafted hymn to the life-giving qualities of birds." --Simon Barnes
"Immensely moving... a beautiful and gripping story." --Tim Dee, BBC Wildlife Magazine
"A fascinating and uplifting tale, British to the very core." --The Daily Mail
Soon after their incarceration at Warburg in 1941, Peter Conder, John Buxton, John Barrett and George Waterston discovered a shared love of birdwatching. Before long, their obsessive quest for information on the nesting habits of chaffinches, redstarts and others took over the whole camp – including some of the German guards, who began to assist the PoWs in their observations at great risk to their own lives.
In this tender, revelatory book, Derek Niemann draws on original diaries, letters and drawings, as well as the memories of those who knew them to show how all four men were forged by their experiences as POWs into the giants of postwar wildlife conservation. Their legacy lives on, in institutions such as the RSPB and the British Wildlife Trust.