Read Birders: Tales of a Tribe by Mark Cocker Online


Since 1972 Mark Cocker has been a member of a community of people who sacrifice most of their spare time, a good deal of money, sometimes their chances of a partner or family, and even occasionally their lives to watch birds. There is the record-holding husband and wife who cross continents to "twitch" (spot rare birds); the disgraced "stringer" who takes desperate measureSince 1972 Mark Cocker has been a member of a community of people who sacrifice most of their spare time, a good deal of money, sometimes their chances of a partner or family, and even occasionally their lives to watch birds. There is the record-holding husband and wife who cross continents to "twitch" (spot rare birds); the disgraced "stringer" who takes desperate measures to falsify a spotting of the coveted black lark, leading hundreds on a fruitless search; and a group of friends who go birding in America only to be plagued by car trouble, drunk drivers, robbery, and an encounter with the border police.Birders is also an inspiring and heartwarming account of the author's lifelong love for his hobby, and the way it transforms him -- from his fetishistic love affair with his notebook and "bins" (binoculars) to his deep mourning for a friend who went missing when he followed the call of an elusive pheasant in the Himalayan mountains. Informative, touching, and astoundingly funny, here is the layman's invitation to share in an unlikely obsession....

Title : Birders: Tales of a Tribe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780871138446
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 229 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Birders: Tales of a Tribe Reviews

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-30 20:21

    I've wanted to read this book for a long time and recently succumbed to, shock horror, paying more than the library reservation fee for it, the Derbyshire county library system being disinclined to release their copy from their Local Studies Reference. How odd, I thought but it turns out that Mark Cocker grew up in and around Chapel-en-le-Frith and that was where he first developed an interest in birds. And this book is much more autobiography than I had thought it would be. None the worse for that at all.This makes an excellent companion to Bill Oddie's Little Black Book, which is much more upfront in explaining birding jargon such as dipping and stringing. I am very much in the 'bad birdwatcher' school with no interest in rarities (I drove past the spot where the Dusky Thrush showed up this last Winter many times and was only interested in seeing the phalanx of twitchers, but sulked at never seeing waxwing this season) This is mostly a book about, if not twitchers then people who have at least gone through twitching phases in their lives. He talks about 'value' in the birding community, and explains that this is something akin to the Irish 'craic' - and shows fabulously well what this means for this truly is a book of 'tales of a tribe' - lots of daft (and occasionally tragic) stories about the lengths people go to in pursuit of a tick. There are some fascinating tales - I was particularly interested in the mini-invasion of the Shetlands by birders seeking oil boom related employment to fund their travels. The book came out in 2001 and a lot has changed even since then but Cocker is deeply nostalgic for past birding times, past even his own birding youth without (quite) straying too far into "it was all better then" territory.

  • Kristal Cooper
    2018-12-26 01:17

    A British man's birding memoir, complete with evocative stories of Great Britain's great birders and bird sightings. In the process, he indirectly teaches a how-to, the rules, etiquette and lingo of the sport. It also got close to answering my nagging question: "Why are all great birders men?" I do think you would have to be involved in bird watching, at least at the hobby level, to enjoy this book. Since I do like to observe and identify birds on a daily basis, I find it interesting to see how far some people have gone to see what so many others take for granted. I'm just fascinated by these competitive listers -- knowing that I'll never have the time, money, or gumption to be one of them.

  • Lisa
    2018-12-28 23:13

    While I wasn't sure about it at first, by the end, I was quite glad I had picked up this book. Written by a British twitcher rather than a US birder, there are still plenty of similarities. Lots of tales, that after repetition, take on a scope beyond the original version. But you have a few laughs, and try not to take yourself too seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. One of my favorite quotes from the book which clarifies how binoculars work, "Anything within the orbit of those eight degrees is magnified and enhanced, while everything else - job, relationship, money, sex - is consigned to the aura of darkness around you."

  • Brian Robbins
    2018-12-31 18:23

    There were some snippets in the book that were of interest, but it was very much a book for those inside the charmed circle of the twitching fraternity, who convert the Victorian and Edwardian obsession with shooting and stuffing rare birds, into hunting for them with binoculars, scope & camera.Made me realise the gulf between my kind of bird watching (or is that bird-watching?). Found myself thinking is that really of interest at many points in the book. haqve now read 4 books by Mark Cocker. Birds Britanica & Crow Country were excellent. This and "Loneliness & Time", were much less so. Frankly I got bored with them on a number of occasions.

  • Mike Sumner
    2019-01-06 18:00

    As a keen birder I thoroughly enjoyed BIRDERS: TALES OF A TRIBE even though it was published 13 years ago. Cocker's anecdotal approach to what makes a "twitcher" is perfect, some extremely funny. Above all BIRDERS is the story of a community, of its characters (many of those mentioned now dead), its rules, its equipment (this section actually prompted me to buy some Alwych notebooks) and its adventures. A wonderful examination of what makes birders tick.

  • Alastair
    2019-01-12 23:57

    I will lay my cards on the table and say that I am not a birder, however, I don't think that matters. If you have an interest in seeing how people "tick" you will find this book fascinating as it is more focused upon the people - the birders and how they used to flock around the country after teh latest rarity. I say used to as the age of Twitter and Facebook has kind of put pay to the phone in the local hangout or information picked up on the grapevine.

  • Cara
    2019-01-17 00:12

    This book gives some insight into the life of birders, like the importance of notebooks and numbers for example. However, for non-birders, the book gets bogged down in fairly dry stories about where and when who saw what rare bird. I would only reccommend this book to people who are birders themselves.

  • Chris Leuchtenburg
    2018-12-23 22:23

    The ‘tribe’ is actually Cocker’s close friends and associates in England. It isn’t about birders in general, but about his tribe of local birders. Chatty, discursive, occasionally interesting -- didn’t finish it.

  • Keith Hall
    2018-12-23 21:23

    For a birder, this book is quite interesting to read with some truly amazing stories. It was a bit tedious in a few places as it is an English book and their language is a wee bit different than ours, but all in all quite enjoyable.

  • Julie
    2019-01-02 00:02

    It's set in Britain and it's a series of stories about birders and birding. The birders are serious. The birding is funny. As an American I found it cross-culturally interesting, and as a birder myself I found it educational.

  • Louise Davy
    2019-01-19 22:21

    Outstanding account of birders and mark's own development as a birder pre-GPS and mobile 'phones. Some laugh-out-loud passages.

  • David
    2019-01-07 22:04

    I read this book for a reading course (not a birder/birdwatcher; I am studying them). It was a dry read and only somewhat informative. Certainly would not have read for leisure.

  • Barb
    2019-01-11 01:19

    Read this book of my dad's while visiting him in Florida. We're both members of the tribe and some of our favorite times are birding together or talking birds together.

  • Helen Farrow
    2019-01-06 20:03

    Very interesting to me as a birder. Nice to hear of experiences in familiar places.

  • Liz
    2019-01-17 18:17

    A great look into the world of birds and birding from the motherland of birding. I have a hero I will never forget in this book...Tragopan Pheasant is worth dying for.