Thursday, 4 November 2010
Last week I was staying with author and BBC Natural History Producer Stephen Moss and he reminded me to tune in to BBC 4 this week and catch his new series Birds Britannia. This deals with the complex relationship between human beings and birds over time.
What a splendid and very different programme on birds. Looking back at the Victorians' attitude to birds was very interesting and what happened to the Dicky Bird Club? It seemed to be thriving then encouraging and committing children to look after birds and provide them with food. Remember there were not the specialist bird food producers in those days and it meant using left overs from their own meals. I am keen to know what happened to this happy band. Did they merge with RSPCA which was about then or just disappear?
The programme also revealed the extent of bird feeding today and how people begin to see the birds in their garden are "their property" and dangerously divide species into the ones they like, - usually Robins, Tits & Blckbirds and those they do not - Sparrowhawks, Magpies and Starlings.
Other highlights of the programme included the reminder of what great books were produced years ago with special emphasis on the Robin, and David Lacks wonderful Life of a Robin just as relevant today as when he wrote it just before The Second World War.
A number of distinguished ornithologists and other academics contribute sound bites of great interest to link the contents together.
How refreshing to have a programme that does not treat all those interested in birds as "Twitchers" and deals with all the aspects that make us all so enthusiastic about all species.
I cannot wait for the next programme.