Fighting for Birds: 25 years in nature conservation

Fighting for BirdsMark Avery

Pelagic Publishing, £12.99

In Fighting for Birds author Mark Avery draws upon his 25 years at the RSPB (most recently as conservation director) to illustrate some of the challenges facing conservation.

He takes a down-to-earth approach on some controversial topics, including the culling of ruddy ducks to protect white-headed ducks, and whether it would ever be justified to control the numbers of birds of prey. He is not afraid to criticise or name and shame, and questions in particular game keepers and shooting sports.

Fighting for Birds is informative about the life of a conservationist, and about the legal and social context in which environmental organisations work. For example, he puts into context terms such as Species Protection Area, which previously existed as isolated phrases floating in my head. He also discusses individual examples of birds he has studied or worked with, such as roseate terns and red kites, plus everything from managing a nature reserve to influencing Government.

Avery's passion comes through very strongly, and it is hard not to feel motivated about conservation after reading the book. If you know an aspiring young conservationist, this book will be a perfect present.

Dr Rebecca Nesbit MSB