Mrs Moreau’s Warbler
Guardian columnist & Springwatch expert Stephen Moss combines detective work, natural history, folklore and first hand observations to explore how birds got their names and our long and eventful relationship with the natural world.
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Swallow and starling, puffin and peregrine, blue tit and blackcap. We use these names so often that few of us ever pause to wonder about their origins. What do they mean? Where did they come from? And who created them?
The words we use to name birds are some of the most lyrical and evocative in the English language. They also tell incredible stories: of epic expeditions, fierce battles between rival ornithologists, momentous historical events and touching romantic gestures.
Through fascinating encounters with birds, and the rich cast of characters who came up with their names, in Mrs Moreau’s Warbler Stephen Moss takes us on a remarkable journey through time. From when humans and birds first shared the earth to our fraught present-day coexistence, Moss shows how these names reveal as much about ourselves and our relationship with the natural world as about the creatures they describe.
Stephen Moss unlocks a trove of folk history . . . Not a page goes by without at least one diverting fact.
Entertaining and exciting . . . Moss takes us on a series of wonderful diversions into bird etymology, tracing the tracks of avian meaning.
Full of natty linguistic details . . . The book really comes alive when Moss heads out into the field to see the birds . . . Beautifully described.
Fascinating . . . An enlightening book from the moment you start reading.
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