How to be an Urban Birder by David Lindo: A review

One of the really neat things about birds is that they are very adaptable creatures and they can be found almost everywhere on Earth. There is virtually no place you can go where there will not be at least a token presence of feathered flying critters.

Of course, some places are birdier than others. I am fortunate to live in Southeast Texas which much of the North American population of birds passes through at some time in the year, either headed to more northern climes in the spring or to Mexico and Central and South America in the fall. Many of them do, in fact, linger with us throughout the year. So, I'm never at a loss for birds to watch in my own backyard.

One might assume that the urban areas of the world would be unlikely places for people who enjoy watching birds, but one would be wrong. David Lindo in his recent book, How to be an Urban Birder, shows his readers just how wrong that assumption is.

Lindo is a U.K. birder and most of the birds that he discusses in his book are European species, but they all have counterparts in North America (and indeed on every continent except possibly Antarctica) and the lessons that he gives on the art and science of birding, where to find birds in the urban landscape, how to attract birds, what to look for at various times of the year, and the helpful tools of the trade are applicable no matter in which urban setting you happen to live.

I found the chapters on gardening for birds and on the tools of the trade especially interesting. Cultivating a wildlife-friendly garden, particularly if one is able to include a water feature, such as a pond or bog garden, is a wonderful way to bring the birds in close so you might not even need binoculars to view them. But, really, binoculars are perhaps your most important tool of the trade and Lindo's section on how to choose binoculars for your hobby is quite helpful, especially for the novice.

Overall, the book is written in a conversational and easy-to-understand style. Lindo never talks down to his readers and his enthusiasm for the hobby of birding - or twitching, if you prefer - is infectious. It would be most recommended for the person living in an urban area who is new to this leisure pursuit and wants to learn more about finding a greater variety of species of birds beyond House Sparrows, European Starlings, and Common Rock Pigeons.

(Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was provided to me by Princeton University Press for the purpose of this review. The views expressed here are entirely my own.)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


  1. You are a most qualified reviewer for this one!

    1. It really is quite a helpful book for anyone interested in learning how to find birds in an urban setting.

  2. This book would be ideal for me. :-) Thanks for the thoughtful review, Dorothy.

    1. I would say that it was written with people like you in mind.


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