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Fighting for Birds: 25 Years in Nature Conservation Paperback – 1 Aug 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Pelagic Publishing (1 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907807292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907807299
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 647,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


I couldn't put it down. It is a damned good read packed with interesting information and insider insights into some of the classic conservation battles of the period. All students of conservation should read it. -- John Bowers ECOS This book's cover says it all - Mark Avery is in your face, explaining his view of how to look after Briain's birds, and our countryside, largely through a series of battles. Let me be clear, I'm reviewing the book, not Mark's approach. Chris Packham read it from start to finish without stopping - I took only two or three sittings. It's a compelling read. A book of this nature, at its best, should inform, entertain, provoke thought, and even move the reader, and Mark managed all of these with me. He successfully transfers onto the page his passion for birds, for wildlife, for science, and for some people. He sets out, very clearly, the art and science of nature conservation, and explains the practicalities in a way that will improve understanding for any reader at any level. This is a personal perspective, with Mark's contribution as an RSPB Director writ very large. Its combative feel will make new enemies, as well as further polarise those with strong views, either way, on his approach. Mark's story shares remarkably similar experiences to mine. Schoolboy mentors, early birding memories (do we all remember meeting Richard Richardson on Cley's East Bank?), scientific research, upland fieldwork, all leading to a long career in nature conservation. As a professional I learnt a lot from this book - how and why the RSPB picked issues for advocacy, ideas on mitigating climate change, and that Swifts nest in Abernethy's pines - I have to see that sometime! I laughed out loud, mostly when Mark was poking fun at himself and, yes, I was moved because his passion to do better for our planet and the life it sustains shines through - we all should take on at least some of his bullet-point manifesto for the future of a better world. Whether you are enemy or friend, reading this account of a particular life in conservation will be time well spent. -- Andy Clements BTO News Did you see the Black-winged Pratincole at Cley in 1974? No, me neither, but Mark Avery was one of the three finders. Not many people know that! But I think most people know that he spent 25 years working for the RSPB, much of it as Conservation Director, where he was instrumental in shaping the way the Society protected birds. In fact there are 17,000 internet references to his work there - an indication that he had a lot to say. And so he should - the last two decades have seen major changes in the way our countryside has been managed and the way that those in authority have responded to the implications. Often a controversial figure in the media, he could always see both sides to an argument but he did not let that weaken his position. Having observed him in action during my own time on the RSPB Council I would say he had a rare knack of being prepared to say what everyone in the room was thinking, particularly when they were lost for words. That last attribute can be a strength or a weakness, and one rarely displayed by those whose first interest is in their career path. Perhaps that is why he decided to change his own career path last year to become a freelance writer and consultant? In this book we learn about his early interest in birds and wildlife, followed by research at Oxford and Aberdeen and his early days at the RSPB. But for me the most interesting chapters are those that outline his views on some the key issues in bird conservation - namely hunting, loss of protected areas, agricultural intensification, reintroductions, establishing nature reserves, climate change, persecution of raptors, understanding the infrastructure of conservation and lobbying those in power. He also gives his view about the future of the RSPB. --Ceri Levy The Bird Effect Diary

About the Author

Mark Avery spent 25 years fighting for birds working for the RSPB, from Research Biologist to Conservation Director and is an influential blogger on all matters nature conservation.

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