The Secret Language of Birds

The Secret Language of Birds is a real treat. This beautiful book explores the secret language of birds throughout the world through fascinating stories, quotes, secrets and myths. From dark tales of violence and transformation, to wonderful facts – did you know that Baby Zebra Finches learn their songs in their sleep? – this book will inspire you to see every bird in a new light:

How do you know but every bird that cuts the airy way Is an immense world of delight, closed by your senses five?

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The book contains a wealth of interesting information. At NHBS, for example, our mascot is the Hoopoe:

Storm Detection

Many birds are believed by human beings to have the ability to predict the weather. This is not mere folklore but has its basis in scientific fact. It is a relatively recent discovery that the hoopoe, for example, is able to detect piezo-electrical charges in the atmosphere, which can presage lightning storms, and the bird’s behaviour alters as a result of them. So the hoopoe really can be used as a relaible indicator of harsh weather to come.

There is also a rather dark myth about our hoopoe – but for that you’ll have to read the book!

The State of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland

The State of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland is the first assessment of the changing status of butterflies in the 21st Century, updating the hugely popular Millennium Atlas of Butterflies of Britain and Ireland.This important new book, richly illustrated with many colour photographs, maps and plots showing changes in species’ distribution and abundance, provides a vital and up-to-date reference on the current state of the 59 butterfly species that regularly breed in Britain and Ireland.

Visit Butterfly Conservation for more information on butterflies, moths and their habitats.

Spring & Summer Catalogue 2006.

Spring & Summer Catalogue

The sun is definitely out today, winter is over, and this means that our new Spring/Summer Catalogue is now available!

We have handpicked 3500 of the finest new, forthcoming and best-selling titles in wildlife, science and conservation from the 100,000+ titles on to bring you this unique selection of the best in natural history publishing.

The Spring/Summer catalogue is now online, and you can view it on, or download it as a .pdf document for easy reading/printing. Enjoy!

Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting reviewed in Science Magazine

Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting The current issue of Science Magazine (7 April 2006) reviews one of our favourite recent books, Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting.

David Hill writes:

Through their examples and discussions, the individual chapters provide consistently intriguing analyses that demonstrate the wide impact of light pollution. So much of the book is of direct relevance to the environmental advice we try to give in the United Kingdom that I expect it will be helpful around the globe. Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting is an excellent reference that will undoubtedly raise awareness of the need to conserve energy, do proper impact assessments, and turn the lights down.

The full review is available online to Science Magazine subscribers.

The Red Book: Vertebrates in Israel

The Red Book: Vertebrates in IsraelThis Red Book includes all the accumulated information for endangered vertebrates in Israel.
According the IUCN – The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Red Lists of Threatened Species are key tools in determining the status of Earth’s biodiversity. An environmental E-bulletin on the ISRAEL Ministry of the Environment website discusses the importance of this crucial resource.

The Wild Flower Key is in stock

Wild Flower keyNo less than 25 years after the first edition was published, The Wild Flower Key is back! Firmly established as the classic guide to identifying wild flowers, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland, this book covers over 1600 of the flowering plants you are most likely to find.

Francis Rose’s original has been revised and updated by Clare O’Reilly: the illustrations are excellent, the keys uncluttered and simple to follow, and the glossary comprehensive. The amount of information in this highly portable guide is staggering, its 576 pages will easily fit in a jacket pocket and are protected by a plastic cover for those muddy fieldtrips.

Spring/Summer Catalogue in preparation

For the past couple of days it’s been very sunny with a hint of spring in the air here in Devon.

This can only mean that our next Spring/Summer Catalogue with all the best recent titles and noteworthy forthcoming books on Natural History, Science and Conservation will be out soon!

This week we are all very busy putting it together, and sifting through thousands of titles to bring you our hand-picked selection. With any luck, the catalogue will be online early next week – you can view it on, or download it as a .pdf document for easy reading/printing. If you are not already on our mailing list and would like to be notified as soon as it becomes available, please drop us a quick note to

Planet Earth – the making of an epic series

I can’t believe I missed Planet Earth last night! Especially now that everyone is talking about the ‘amazing caves‘. However, I do have the new Planet Earth book – the making of an epic series – in front of me. In this book you can read about some of the most extreme environmentalists in the world and check out behind-the-scenes photos of the making of the series. The immense Mexico’s Cave of the Swallow, the deepest cave hole in the world, looks as if it’s swallowing the Planet Earth Base-jumper! The cave is named after the thousands of swifts that roost there.

The threats were real – from angry whales and predatory mountain lions to deadly snakes and notorious bandits – but the rewards were great. What they observed and filmed ‘was spectacular… we had never seen anything like it.

Planet Earth – the making of an epic series.

Mesozoic and Tertiary Fossil Mammals and Birds of Great Britain

Mesozoic and Tertiary Fossil Mammals and Birds of Great BritainMesozoic and Tertiary Fossil Mammals and Birds of Great Britain is an invaluable reference work on British palaeontology. Describing around 30 sites which represent the diversity of Mesozoic-Tertiary Mammals and Birds, Prof. Michael Benton, E.Cook, and Jerry Hooker detail the fauna present, the interpretation, and make comparisons with fauna at other sites.

Part of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s Geological Conservation Review series, this title is the sister volume to the forthcoming Pleistocene Fossil Mammals and Birds of Great Britain.

Important Bird Areas in Zambia

Important Bird Areas in ZambiaImportant Bird Areas are benchmarks in the conservation and management of bird species and diversity. IBA’s in Zambia by Peter Leonard, describes in detail 42 sites in Zambia meeting the IBA criteria. Published by the Zambian Ornithological Society, this book contains excellent maps for every area, lists of the relevant species and their conservation status, a full description of the site and other fauna and flora present and, crucially, an outline of conservation and management issues for the area.

Important Bird Area information from BirdLife International:

The selection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) has been a particularly effective way of identifying conservation priorities. IBAs are key sites for conservation – small enough to be conserved in their entirety and often already part of a protected-area network. They do one (or more) of three things:

  • Hold significant numbers of one or more globally threatened species
  • Are one of a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome-restricted species
  • Have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory species