My wife brought me a book from the library, "say goodbye to the cuckoo" by Michael McCarthy and I finished it yesterday. It is an exploration of the birds that are thought of by us a spring-bringers, the cuckoo, the warblers, the nightingale, the spotted flycatcher, the swallows and martins etc. the author treats each bird in turn and explores it's migration, it's migration route and the sense of wonder it brings to us from past literature and present experiences, and the loss we feel when there is a lack of spring migrants, or worse, when they have not returned. He has access to experts and uses them to acquaint himself with the magic of each species and in turn you can't help but become immersed yourself. This emotional journey ends abruptly with disturbing facts, where with the ending chapters there is a chilling account of species decline. But a much more complicated set of reasons from Rachel Carson's DDT. Essentially the major influence is climate change and the human burgeoning population that causes death and decline  of all species by chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, habitat loss, killing, soil erosion, pollution etc If you have an iconic bird spring-bringer, start packing in more memories.

3 Responses to “Silent spring for real”

  1. August 11, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Interesting view. It sounds like ‘Say goodbye to the cuckoo’ is a good book. It’s true the sense of loss can be quite traumatic if you are acutely aware of the change of the seasons and ebb and flow of the various creatures of Nature.

  2. November 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I have just finished this book today. It was a wonderful book but the last two chapters left me feeling very upset. Firstly I cannot bear the thought of these birds not arriving anymore, the story of the cuckoos disappearing from a region within two years was awful. However the bigger picture for the world’s future looks even more bleak. I think everyone should read this book then read ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ by Philip K Dick to realise what the world could be like without plants, insects, birds and most animals. All in all a very sad and terrible place.

    • Ian November 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you for the book recommendation, if I in turn could recommend Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman. This book is bleak in analysis, but it does promote solutions, so is expectantly hopeful. The fact that President Obama read it on holiday as I did gives me hope, we need America to show leadership in combating climate change.

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