Corvus: A Life with Birds Paperback – 1 Jun 2009
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'Like all the best accounts of a life shared with animals (Gerald Durrell comes inevitably to mind), Corvus offers much in the way of domestic comedy ... Exquisitely written - Gallopingly readable' - Guardian 'A number of qualities make this unlikely book such a triumph. The first is the author's character, as revealed in the tone of her narrative voice - Then there is the deceptive simplicity of Woolfson's best writing - Finally though, it is her ever-present sense of fresh wonder which carries us lightly to the very last page' - Irish Times'Funny, touching and beautifully written - a fascinating insight into the closeness human beings can achieve with wild creatures'- Sunday Times
About the Author
Esther Woolfson was brought up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in many anthologies and have been read on Radio 4. She has won prizes for her nature writing and received a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer's Bursary
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Top Customer Reviews
The parts about Woolfsons pet birds are a funny and touching potrait of a family and their pets, a little remeniscent of "my family and other animals".
The parts about natural history are more serious and require concentration but well worth it particularly the parts discussing birds relationship to dinosaurs.
I really loved this and hope that Esther Woolfson writes more of the same.
But what really made it for me were the relationships between Esther and the helpless infant corvids that, having fallen from their family nests, she took in and raised in her home in Aberdeen. Nurturing and living with Chicken and Spike gave Esther an unprecedented opportunity to study corvid behaviour. Her love and care of these birds is evident, as is her awareness and respect for them as wild and highly independent-minded creatures. The description of the greeting ritual between the author and Chicken each morning is very touching - how many people do you know who've had the priviledge of bowing and greeting a adult female rook at the bottom of their stairs each morning?!!
I hope others enjoy Corvus as much as I did.
It is difficult not to become involved with the antics of these birds as they enjoy the run of the house. They have distinct personalities, and although the author is at pains not to humanise these wonderful creatures, one can't help but become immersed in this household. There are chapters about birds in folklore, birdsong, bird physiology all of which are interesting and quite different in tone, and it's obvious the author knows her stuff, and when she doesn't she knows how to do her research, which was certainly the case when it came to feeding tiny birds of different breeds.
The author explains her dilemma in having these essentially wild birds in her home, living what is an unnatural life. What would have happened to them had she not taken them in? Had they survived - which is doubtful as they had fallen out of their nests - they would almost certainly have been able to fly, nest and breed in the wild, albeit with a much shorter life. However living in the confines of a house they seem to have enjoyed a happy life, and we, through the pages of this book, are able to learn more about these wonderful corvids.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To be honest I think this is between a 3.5 and a 4 for me. I bought the book having heard the author speak some time ago on Radio 4 about intelligence in non-human species. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Mr D.
I saw a reference to this book in a newspaper article, and thought I would buy it. I wasn't sure whether it was going to be weighted down with scientific facts and figures. Read morePublished 26 days ago by ruffled feathers
Very interesting and touching account of living with birds.Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
If you love birds, you will love this wonderfully written book about crows. Woolfson's writing flows beautifully and the illustrations are wonderful.Published 1 month ago by JTH
If you are interested in birds then this should tickle your fancy.Published 5 months ago by Frankie
Excellent delivery. This was a Book Club choice and not mine.Published 5 months ago by christine a. holland
Being a fan of Corvids, the book had me spell bound. Clever, crafty and lovable, what fortune to live so close to them. Enjoyed every page.Published 6 months ago by Jane CH
Patchy but interesting, the author lived with several birds, including crows. Full of interesting facts and observations, it is also a gentle story about living with sentient... Read morePublished 6 months ago by N. Tuson
One of those rare things - an intelligent book written by an intelligent writer. So glad I read it on my Kindle though where it is easy to look up those Latin bird-related words. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jill in East Kent