The Bedside Book of Birds


"Birds have ever been the symbols of our highest aspirations. As divine
messengers, symbols of our yearning for the heavens, or avatars of glorious song
and colour, they have stirred our imaginations from the moment we first looked
into the sky. Whether as the Christian dove, or Quetzalcoatl—the Aztec Plumed
Serpent—or in Plato’s vision of the human soul growing wings and feathers,
religion and philosophy have looked to birds as representatives of our better
selves—that part of us not bound to the earth.

With the passion of a birdwatcher and hoarder of words, Gibson has spent
fifteen years collecting the literary and artistic forms our affinity for birds
has taken over the centuries. Birds appear again and again in mythology and folk
tales, and in literature by writers as diverse as Ovid, Thomas Hardy, Kafka,
Thoreau and T.S. Eliot. They’ve been omens, allegories, disguises and guides;
they’ve been worshipped, eaten, feared and loved. Nor does Gibson forget the
fascination they hold for science, as the Galapagos finches did for Darwin.
Birds figure charmingly and tellingly in the work of such nature writers as
Gilbert White, Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat and Barry Lopez.
Gorgeously illustrated, woven from centuries of human response to the
delights of the feathered tribes, The Bedside Book of Birds is for anyone who is
aware of birds, and for everyone who is intrigued by the artistic forms that
humanity has created to represent its soul…"
The Bedside Book of Birds
An Avian Miscellany
Written by Graeme

Random House