Rhythms of Nature by Ian Carter

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Ian Carter has been an ornithologist for Natural England for 25 years and recently retired from The Fens to the Wilds of Dartmoor. Being retired means that he has got time to think about all manner of subjects, hence this book. The book is split into four sections, Home Turf, Venturing Out, Ways of Seeing and Connections. The number of essays varies per section, but they follow the theme.

In, Home Turf, he considers such questions as, should we feed birds at home or leave them to it. It is a subject that he is torn between as he likes seeing the variety of birds in his garden but knows that it can affect their ability to seek food from natural sources. He tells about leaving his lawn to go wild and the effect that it had on drawing in all manner of wildlife to his garden. It did make his landlord raise his eyebrows a little though.

Wild Browsing, in the second section, Venturing Out, is about the delights of finding your own food whilst walking. It is not extensive by any means, he points you in the direction of books that are specialised in this, rather it is about the simple joy of finding the first blackberry of the season and knowing where to get his favourite hazelnuts before the squirrels do.

I particularly like Ways of Seeing. In here he talks about discovering truly wild spaces and how to find them even in your mind as much as the place. Like Chris Yates, he thinks that to really see the wilderness in your local area head out in the gloaming. As the daylight fades and people head indoors you’ll be aware of much more wildlife. The final section is about ways that we can reconnect to the natural world. We are a part of it after all and the health benefits of doing this for us and our planet are profound.

This is another good book from Carter and complements his previous book, Human, Nature, really well. It is a similar format, too, so there are a series of short essays about a particular topic that has interested him. I like the way he writes, he comes across as knowledgeable and authoritative without feeling that you are being lectured too. He is not afraid to have a strong opinion on subject matters either which is good. We need people to speak out more on the things that are happening that need to stop.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    This does sound interesting, I like an essay.

    • Paul

      I think that you’d like this and his first book

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