Top 10 books about birds

As well as useful, beautiful guides to the avian world, the literature of birds includes potent memoir and uncanny fiction. Here are 10 titles to look out for

Bird books have been a constant presence in my life, from Ladybird Books to field guides via fiction and non-fiction with one thing in common. I can sit down with the RSPB Handbook of British Birds by Peter Holden and Tim Cleeves and soon find myself as engrossed as I would be by, say, Elizabeth Stott uncanny avian tale The Rhododendron Canopy. Many elements cross over between fiction and guide book: character and identification, habitat/setting, voice, movement/migration, even narrative arc in the form of a quest. I might be reminded of the time I went looking for choughs and got lucky, watching them for 20 minutes while lying on my stomach by a cliff edge, or I might wonder how many times ...