Into The Red – A Collection of Words and Art Inspired by Britain’s Most Vulnerable Birds

Dear Readers, this book, curated by Kit Jewitt and Mike Toms, pairs images of 70 of Britain’s most vulnerable bird species with writing from 70 authors, and it is a source of both joy and sorrow. There is joy at the sheer variety and beauty of the birds depicted, but there is sorrow at the possible loss of some of our most iconic and familiar birds. There are birds that I’ve never seen, like Montagu’s Harrier and the Red-Backed Shrike, but who would not pause at the inclusion of Swifts and House Martins, Pochard and Bewick’s Swan, Puffin and Starling, House Sparrow and Lapwing? The causes are varied, but everything points to the increasing impoverishment of our natural world.

Capercaillie. Words by Benedict MacDonald. Image by Federico Gemma. Taken from ‘The Making of Into the Red’

The artists are a varied bunch, from sculptors and printmakers to painters working in mixed media, oils, pastels and watercolours. cartoonists and digital illustrators. The writers include long-established and well-loved nature writers such as Richard Mabey, Kate Bradbury and Isabella Tree (of ‘Wilding’ fame) alongside children’s authors, scientists, activists and enthusiasts. The approach works well – I liked some collaborations more than others, but there is something here for everyone. Best of all, all of the profits from the work go to the British Trust for Ornithology, which couples a scientific approach with a deepfelt passion for the birdlife of this country.

House sparrow by Esther Tyson

So, if you have any spare cash rattling around (hah!) I would definitely invest in this book. It’s also inspired me to think about a new series of new posts, on the birds that are declining, the possible causes, what they mean to me, and what we can do about it. Let’s see how we get on…

Merlin by Ruth Weaver

You can read more about the making of ‘Into the Red’ below…



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