The Secret Life of Birds of Prey


This attractive book manages to be different, offering details of 13 species in an imaginative and inclusive way. Each species is dealt with under the subheadings of history and current situation, description and behaviour, habitat and breeding, an individual person's story and where to see them.

It is not intended to be a comprehensive handbook, but to give enough to stimulate further interest and offer plenty of fascinating information, whether on the birds' place in myths and culture or on their biology and conservation. In fact, the amount of information packed in is impressive. The plentiful photographs include many stunners, too.

The stories, some quite long, provided by various contributors, range from watching Peregrines on St Albans Cathedral and observations of Merlins in Orkney to encounters with Eurasian Sparrowhawks in Norfolk and a Golden Eagle on Mull. This is a neat idea that adds a bit of reality and individual viewpoints to the book. Indeed, at a time when scientific papers seem to get ever more impenetrable while popular offerings sometimes become too superficial, the whole book is well written and accessible, and looks a treat.

It deserves to get a lot of attention and should help influence attitudes to birds of prey for the better. Which is its main aim, after all. 


Written by: Rob Hume