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Audio Book Review

Book Cover

A Guide to British Garden Birds and Their Songs


Presented by: Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss
BBC Audio
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 68931 1
Available 07 April 2008

Most of us can tell the difference between a blue tit and a blackbird or a robin and a wren, but what happens if you close your eyes - can you still tell which bird is which simply by listening to their song? If the answer is no, then this practical audio guide to the songs of British garden birds is the easy way to get to know the songs of some of our most popular and best-loved songbirds...

A Guide to British Garden Birds and Their Songs was originally broadcast as five programmes on BBC Radio 4 between May and June 2007. Each programme deals with a different variety of garden birds.

Recorded on location in the Somerset Levels, in the garden of bird watcher, writer and broadcaster Stephen Moss, this helpful and practical guide will quickly enable you to sort out your blue tits from your great tits and your hedge sparrows from your tree sparrows.

Joining Stephen and presenter Brett Westwood, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson is armed with an array of microphones that allow us to eavesdrop on the songs, calls and alarm cries of the birds we see around us. Packed with useful information and helpful tips, this guide is for anyone who wants to understand more about the beautiful birds which share our parks and gardens every day.

Episode 1 - Thrushes: In this programme, Brett and Stephen discuss how to identify the Thrushes, namely Blackbird (one of the UK's most beautiful songsters), Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Robin.

Episode 2 - Titmice: Titmice are common visitors to any garden - and Brett and Stephen look out for and listen to Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits.

Episode 3 - Finches: After a relatively easy start, identifying the garden visitors starts to get tricky as Brett and Stephen tackle the finches - Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Bullfinch.

Episode 4 - Woodland Visitors: Gardens with trees and shrubs attract woodland specialists, and in this programme, Brett and Stephen look out for and listen to birds like the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon and Collared Dove.

Episode 5 - House Guests: In the last programme of this series, Brett and Stephen look out for birds which like to visit our gardens in flocks, and even like to take up residence alongside us, nesting on our houses, including House Sparrows, Starlings, House Martins, Swallows and Swifts.

If you are one of the millions of people who regularly feed your garden birds and know how to visually differentiate all of the variety, then this release will help you to appreciate their birdsong too.

A fascinating release that will open listeners eyes, and ears, to allow them to better appreciate the world around them that most people take for granted.


Nick Smithson

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