Written by a beginner bird-watcher with the freshness and passion of a convert, Waiting for the Albino Dunnock explores the world of birds through the seasons of a single year. It describes encounters with particular birds in the landscapes of East Anglia, where the author is rooted. Occasional journeys farther afield take the listener to truly wild places in the Outer Hebrides and Eastern Europe. Yet the ordinary experience of bird-watching is also far more than just that. The beauty of birds has the power to change lives, as it did the author's, and, as in the case of the all-but-legendary snow leopard, it is more about the search than the result.
Personal and elegiac in tone, the writing is an unusual combination of prose poems based on the actual experience of seeing a specific bird for the first time, woven with elements of science and wisdom traditions, ornithology (and its punning counterpart, ornitheology), mythology and philosophy, taxonomy and history, literature and folklore, conveying the wider picture of what it means to be human in relationship to nature. Waiting for the Albino Dunnock explores the degree to which wildness is embedded in the human psyche and how beauty is central to our mental and emotional well-being while highlighting the careless damage we are inflicting on the natural world.
Read by Jane Whittenshaw.
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