Corvus: A Life with Birds

Front Cover
Granta Books, 2008 - Birds - 337 pages
35 Reviews
Esther Woolfson has been fascinated by corvids, the bird group that includes crows, rooks, magpies and ravens, since her daughter rescued a fledgling rook sixteen years ago. That rook - named Chicken - has lived with the family ever since. Other birds have also taken their place in the household - a magpie, starling, parrot and the inhabitants of an outdoor dovehouse. But above all, it has been the corvids (a talking magpie named Spike, Chicken the rook, and, recently, a baby crow named Ziki) that she has formed the closest attachments with, amazed by their intelligence, personality and capacity for affection. Living with birds has allowed Woolfson to learn aspects of bird behaviour which would otherwise have been impossible to know - the way they happily become part of the structure of a family, how they communicate, their astonishing empathy. We hear about Chicken's fears and foibles: her hatred of computers and other machines and her love of sitting on Woolfson's knee in the evening and having her neck scratched; the birds' elaborate bathing rituals, springtime broodiness, and the tendency to cache food in the most unlikely places. Woolfson tells the darker story of why corvids have always been objects of superstition and persecution; and with the lightest of touches, she weaves in the science of bird intelligence, evolution, song and flight throughout. Her account of her experiences is funny, touching and beautifully written, and gives fascinating insights into the closeness human beings can achieve with wild creatures.

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Her writing style is rich and evocative. - Goodreads
Her prose has beauty and depicts place very well. - Goodreads
... wonderful writing. - Goodreads

Review: Corvus: A Life with Birds

User Review  - Caren - Goodreads

I so enjoyed this book, which recounts the love of the author for her birds, most especially a rook she calls "Chicken". She didn't keep birds until she was an adult, but she has not been without ... Read full review

Review: Corvus: A Life with Birds

User Review  - Katherine Kreuter - Goodreads

adored this book, so sorry it's finished. wonderful writing. opens the mind to a new world, once that surrounds us noisily and yet we ignore. k Read full review

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