ABOUT ME - My name is Amy and I'm a birder living in central Florida. On this blog I post book and birding product reviews as well as birder gift ideas and announcements related to my birder gift shop on this site. I also have a personal birding blog called Powered By Birds.

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Unless otherwise stated, all books and other products reviewed on this blog were purchased or independently acquired by the reviewer. Readers who make a purchase by clicking on links in product reviews or featured t-shirt posts (T-Shirt Tuesday) may result in the blogger receiving a commission or referral fee.
Archive: Europe

Book Review: City of Ravens

Posted on March 5th, 2013 in Book Review, Books, Europe

City of Ravens

City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens by Boria Sax. Published 2011. As reviewed and pictured: hardcover, 206 pages.

Any landmark with as much history as the famous Tower of London should surely have a folklore full of tall tales, exaggerations, and outright lies. In City of Ravens, Boria Sax delves into the convoluted story of a group of “longtime” castle residents: the Tower Ravens.

Superstition says that there must be at least six Common Ravens in residence at the Tower at all times, else very bad things will happen to Britain (ie crown and country will fall).

Author Sax explores the true history of the resident birds, from the popular story of their beginnings in the 17th century, to their documented, known first occurrence in the Tower some two hundred plus years later. In the book we learn about the natural history of Common Ravens in the United Kingdom as we follow the metamorphosis of their legendary status at the Tower.

Though interesting, I thought the language in the book was a bit too academic at times to be a truly enjoyable read all the way through. Some passages were a bit tough to get past, but overall I did like this book. I certainly learned a lot about the famous avian residents of the Tower of London! I give City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens 3.5 Goldfinches out of 5.

Disclosure: This is my own original, honest review of City of Ravens, a copy of which was provided to me free of charge by the publisher.

T-Shirt Tuesday: Cattle Egret

Posted on July 22nd, 2008 in Europe, T-Shirt Tuesday

The Cattle Egret made the news in Britain this week. Although the birds have been spotted there in recent years, this year a pair has successfully raised chicks there for the first time. The breeding pair was spotted in Somerset. The report mentions that the breeding site will remain secret to protect the birds.

According to Wikipedia,

The Cattle Egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species. It was originally native to parts of Southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and humid tropical and subtropical Asia. In the end of the 19th century it began expanding its range into southern Africa, first breeding in the Cape Province in 1908. Cattle Egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. It was not until the 1930s that the species is thought to have become established in that area.

[…] In Europe the species had historically declined in Spain and Portugal, but in the latter part of the 20th century it expanded back through the Iberian Peninsula, and then began to colonize other parts of Europe; southern France in 1958, northern France in 1981 and Italy in 1985.