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Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? 200 birds, 12 months, 1 lapsed birdwatcher Hardcover – 17 May 2018
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"The loveliest book about birdwatching you will ever read" (Emma Kennedy, author of THE TENT, THE BUCKET AND ME)
"Hilariously honest ... Lev Parikian has a fine line in description and a musician's ear for birdsong" (Sam West)
About the Author
Lev Parikian is a writer, conductor and hopeless birdwatcher. His first book, Waving, Not Drowning, was published in 2013. His numerous conducting credits include the re-recording of the theme tune for Hancock’s Half Hour for Radio 4. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.
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Not only is this book informative about birds, it is also full of humour, fun and exasperation of not seeing that elusive 'next on the list before the end of the year'. Mr Parikian's style of writing is witty, relaxed and personal; drawing the reading in, month by month, not only to his running around the country trying to fit in bird-watching and his career with family (a gargantuan task for this very talented man - but somehow he manages it). Over the length of the book, the reader is invited into his childhood, briefly touching on his relationships with his parents and his brother ... and to why he is a 'lapsed' bird-watcher.
The book is set over twelve months and I limited myself to one month a day - as I wanted to make this journey last; I actually had to force myself to put the book down and stop reading!
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a passing interest in birds, because once you have read it, who knows? You may be haring off to the local park to see if you can spot that elusive bird, singing so loudly in the bushes - only to find it has disappeared.
The author weaves in delightful descriptions of birds and trying to find them with personal anecdotes, humour, and music. It's all very accessible, too, even if you don't know a robin from a redstart, or your Strauss from your Mahler.
I don't usually laugh out loud when I read books, even ones that are comedic, but this book had me laughing out loud in several places. Funny footnotes, too.
My library is stuffed full of bird books and stories of that writers birding year, some are really good and entertaining and some just do not cut it at all with me for a number of reasons. But Lev Parikian’s book is just that most wonderful read it is a riot of laughs and nostalgia. Starting in January 2016 this is his story of a lapsed birdwatcher aiming to see 200 birds in a year, that is REALLY seeing 200 birds in a year not ones he thinks he is seeing. Yes, Lev I have been there too.
When Lev was twelve-years-old he loved birds and birdwatching but like any keen young birder there is that urge to think you have seen a bird that in the cold light of day was not the bird you thought it was. Claiming to see a bird when actually you did not. But then after a few years and growing up the birding stopped and other things in life took over, like his love of music which in life became much more than an interest. Then of course there is cricket and girls.
There is something uniquely different about the way Lev has gone about writing about his birding year. His absolute pleasure at discovering his love of the outdoors and his love of seeing and finding birds again really shines through. But there is still that target of wanting to see 200 birds in a full calendar year. Does Lev actually achieve his target? Sometimes seeing something really very special is something that should be shared with someone close to you. You will experience that in this glorious read. Together with Lev we travel the length and breadth of this beautiful country seeking birds in their own natural habitat. From woods to estuary and the lowlands to the highlands and a barrel of laughs along the way.
What shines through for me is the love Lev has for his family and his music and that he has found the real beauty in nature again. It is a gift for each of us to enjoy and treasure. I just loved Why Birds Suddenly Disappear and it now takes pride of place along with the very best nature books in my library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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