Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Corvus: A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson

More a meditation on birds and life with birds than a nature book, Corvus is well worth the time spent reading.

It is partly the tale of Chicken, a rescued rook living with Woolfson and her family in Aberdeen, and partly the story of humans learning to live with a whole succession of birds, from the author's initial dovecote, through a handful of parrots, a handsome jay, and, of course, Chicken herself.

I repeat: This is not a nature book; I was initially disappointed in the book because it failed to follow in the footsteps of more scientific studies of crows and their kind, limiting itself to brief quotations from the larger studies.

Once I realized that, however, I loved the book for itself, for its account of a life spent observing the birds in the house, for Woolfson's own love of the birds, and for her own quiet, constant, and intense observation of the world in her house and yard. That intensity and the ability to communicate it makes the book a winner.

And I still want to know more about Chicken!

No comments:

Post a Comment