Looking for the Goshawk Hardcover – 11 Apr 2013
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'Conor Jameson's new book looks at man's role in first eliminating the Goshawk from the landscape, and then reintroducing it, and at what this says about our relationship with the natural world.
The very uncertainty inherent in the search for the bird makes it a thoroughly engrossing, sometimes even tense, read, with his travels around the UK being mixed with disappointments and surprises in equal measure.
Jameson brings the same personal slant to the subject that he used in the excellent Silent Spring Revisited, but it's mixed with plenty of hard science too.
I read the book just days before flying to Berlin, so the chapter on the city, whose parks hold a thriving population of Goshawks, was a particular favourite, but it's a great book to dip into for inspiration any time you own personal Goshawk quest starts to feel like a lost cause.' --Matt Merritt, Editor, Birdwatching magazine, April 2013
'I liked Conor's previous book, but I like this one even more. Whereas in Silent Spring Revisited Conor lived through the events described but seemed, to me, to be a little detached from them, this is a book where he describes what he did, and where he went, to get to grips better with a magnificent but elusive bird.
He takes us to Berlin, Cornell, Bedfordshire, the Peak District and many other places on the trail of goshawks and those who admire, watch and protect this bird. We are accompanied, on parts of the journey, by TH White, William Henry Hudson, William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill, and many other famous and erudite folk, but also by a bunch of Conor's colleagues at the RSPB (where he works). I've rarely seen a goshawk. That's not an unusual experience - or lack of an experience. They are not that common, but even where they are present they show themselves with more discretion than do, say, kites or buzzards. There may be goshawks near you but you may not realise they are there.
As far as this book is concerned, you don't need to have seen a goshawk to enjoy it. You don't even need to want to see a goshawk to enjoy it. Conor's cultured writing and enthusiasm for the natural world and the people, like him, who care about it, will carry you along through the chapters.' --Mark Avery, 16/05/2013
About the Author
Conor Jameson works for the RSPB and has contributed to numerous wildlife magazines including the RSPB's Birds magazine and BBC Wildlife. In 2010 he won the BBC Wildlife Nature Writer of the Year award with his article, Phantom about an encounter with a Goshawk in Berlin. His first book Silent Spring Revisited was published by Bloomsbury in spring 2012.
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Top customer reviews
It's well written and very accessible, whether you have a fully fledged interest in goshawks or as a casual reader (me). Though I'm no expert, or even a 'serious' birder, I learned a lot and become a tiny bit obsessed with seeing a goshawk some day for myself.
Living locally to the area, I found the search in Bedfordshire to be particularly fascinating, and found myself trying to work out the locations he describes so well.
Reading T.H. White's brilliant book 'The Goshawk' started my lifelong obsession with hawks, and I found the T.H. White thread of 'Looking for the Goshawk' particularly engaging; at one point the author meets someone who as a child in the 1930's trailed a dead rabbit on a string for White's goshawk to chase. I have seen austringers fly their goshawks, and one summer I took care of a moulting goshawk, and I found the author's difficult search for the wild goshawk captivating and thought it caught the essence of the nature of this elusive, intriguing hawk. The author is an expert bird watcher and I admired his honest admissions of how difficult it is to confirm a sighting of a goshawk. Only yesterday I saw what I assumed to be a sparrowhawk, yet it looked so big without anything to compare it with in the sky, I still wonder if it was a male goshawk. It is the author's honesty, occasional doubts and speculations which make the book so authentic. One of his speculations about there being both bold and timid individuals within a species was backed up by recent research in the 'New Scientist', which considered the evolutionary advantages of such contrasting natures. For over fifty years I've read about falcons and hawks; their high esteem in medieval times; their fall from grace and destruction; their gradual return. Even so I found out new and sometimes surprising information while reading this extremely well researched book, such as how Germany losing the First World War possibly led to goshawks being an everyday sight in the parks of Berlin. I was particularly gripped by the vividly written accounts unearthed by the author of how American goshawks ferociously attacked anyone approaching their nest.
Despite my minor criticisms I believe 'Looking for the Goshawk' deserves five stars. Overall I found this a fascinating and important book written by an author who is a passionate, well informed champion of the much maligned goshawk.
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Credits a real Goshawk expert-Helen Macdonald though
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