What I read in September 2019 (Part 3)

Many thanks to those readers, who voted in my recent poll. The results were two thirds in favour of preserving the status quo (links rather than full details). That will save me some work!

One book review appears in this post.

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

I have been following Joe Harkness @BirdTherapy on Twitter for some time, so when I found his book in the library I borrowed it. Interestingly the sticker inside did not have the name of the branch, but “Housebound service”.

Bird Therapy is well-written and Jo Brown has illustrated it beautifully. The forward by Chris Packham claims that this book will save lives. Joe Harkness found that bird-watching was the best thing he could do as he recovered from a breakdown. The book describes the places he visited and the birds he saw. There is human interest as well. For anyone suffering from stress, this book could help them find a connection with the natural world and ways of dealing with anxiety and depression or other mental health problems.

Independent evidence for the health benefits of being outside and taking time to observe wildlife has been collected together in the notes at the back of the book. A survey was conducted online of people with and without mental health problems who enjoy bird-watching.

I recognised at least one name from my Twitter contacts in the list of people who helped bring this crowd-funded book to publication.

Due to other commitments I wasn’t able to start reading the book as soon as I borrowed it. Not long before I began to read it I had spent time in a bird-hide at a National Trust property. I had experienced the excitement of seeing a nuthatch collect a hazel nut from just outside the window (and the reaction of a young man, who also noticed it) and a woodpecker on a feeder as well as watching more species of tits and finches than we see from home. The descriptions in the book echoed my experience. Bird-watching can be very relaxing. This book deserves to be widely read. It has great potential to save lives, but only if people read it and act on its advice!