Nine new books for bird lovers for 2022

Get a bird’s-eye view with these globetrotting books on the world’s most fascinating feathered fauna.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 8 Jul 2022, 06:04 BST
From flamingos to frigatebirds, our feathered friends take centre stage in this pick of the best ...

From flamingos to frigatebirds, our feathered friends take centre stage in this pick of the best new books for bird-lovers.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller

1. Flamingo

Biologist and photographer Claudio Contreras Koob has spent 20 years travelling deep into the swamps and mangrove forests of his native Mexico — and far beyond — to feed his flamingo fascination. This resultant book is blazing pink testament to his life’s work seeking out the flame-feathered creatures for photographic profile, offering a unique window into the behaviour and life of a flamingo colony, with more than 120 showstopping shots showcasing the species’ unparalleled beauty. teNeues, £35.

2. Around the World in 80 Birds

Wildlife author Mike Unwin takes a world tour of 80 birds with exquisite illustrations from Tokyo-based Ryuto Miyake. Inspiring myth, national pride or scientific revelation, each bird has a story to tell, from the sociable weaver bird that constructs towering multi-nest ‘apartment blocks’ in the Namibian desert to the bar-headed goose, whose epic, twice-yearly trans-Himalayan journey makes it one of the world’s highest-flying migrants. Laurence King Publishing, £22.

3. Birdgirl

19-year-old British-Bangladeshi Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl, reveals how ornithology has underpinned her life. Seeking comfort and hope in conservation, her pursuit of spotting as many birds as she can (her current tally includes half the world's species) comes with the knowledge that each sighting is treasure. These moments of joy amid her mother's deepening mental health crisis have gifted Craig a mindful act to lift the heart and empower the environmentalist spirit. Jonathan Cape, £16.99.

4. Birdsong in a Time of Silence

Lockdown reignited Steven Lovatt’s childhood love of birdwatching, and his lyrical observations began in the ‘strangest spring’ of 2020, when comparative silence descended on Britain. This is a celebration of birdsong: from spring’s most prominent singer, the blackbird, to explorations of the summer’s orchestra of birdcalls. He also explores the science behind the sounds, and looks at the meaning that’s been attributed to birdsong over the centuries, with evocative black-and-white illustrations by Katie Marland. Particular, £12.99.

5. A World on the Wing

Pulitzer-shortlisted writer-ornithologist Scott Weidensaul is at the forefront of bird migration research. Follow him as he tracks some of the most remarkable journeys of the natural world, sailing through the storm-wracked waters of the Bering Sea, encountering gunners and trappers in the Mediterranean and visiting former headhunters in north-east India, where a bird migratory crisis has metamorphosised into a conservation success story. Pan Macmillan, £9.99.

6. Galapagos Crusoes: A year alone with the birds

Delve into this newly updated version of the celebrated 1968 title, Galapagos: Islands of Birds, by the legendary late ornithologist Bryan Nelson, with previously unpublished reminiscences and memories from his wife, June. The couple spent a year living as castaways on two uninhabited, waterless islands in the Galápagos, studying three species of booby as well as the great frigatebird and waved albatross. Their irreverent-yet-expert account is one for birdwatchers and adventurers alike. Bradt Guides, £11.99.

7. Swan: Portrait of a Majestic Bird, from Mythical Meanings to the Modern Day

Dan Keel’s debut is a labour of love for this lifelong birdwatcher who’s written for The GuardianDaily Mail and Birdwatching Magazine. Summersdale, £9.99.

8. The Swan: A Biography

Stephen Moss reveals the secrets of Britain’s most elegant — and often misunderstood — denizen of the park, and their graceful cousins around the world in this beautifully illustrated ‘biography’. Square Peg, £12.99.

9. Swanfolk

Shortlisted for the Icelandic Women's Fiction Prize, this futuristic novel by celebrated native author Kristin Ómarsdóttir paints a dystopian picture of a community of half-human, half-swan creatures. Harvill Secker, £16.99.

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