It may come as a surprise to some people, but tabloid newspaper coverage of the ornithological world does actually extend beyond cheap innuendos about tits and shags. For this we can thank one journalist more than any other - Stuart Winter. A birder since childhood, he has maintained a constant presence in the world of the tabloid news since the mid-1990s, bringing innumerable stories about birds and birdwatchers to the masses in the process. This enthralling book offers a window into the sometimes shady worlds of tabloid journalism and birdwatching. In the process it explores the full stories behind the very best scoops. You may think that birdwatching would be a rather refined hobby, but you would be very wrong indeed. There are tales of obsession - travelling the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of rarities; tragedy - risking life and limb in the line of duty; celebrity - both human and avian, from Jeremy Clarkson and David Attenborough to 'Sammy the Stilt'; crime - from felony to rivalries that turned nasty; and scandal - just what is the most debauched use of a bird hide?
In the course of its 18 chapters covering all the key birding events and personalities of the past two decades and beyond, this book may just become the biggest 'must-read' book for birders since Bill Oddie's "Little Black Bird Book". What a scoop that would be.
Stuart Winter has written a regular birdwatching column in national newspapers the Daily Star and the Sunday Express for more than 15 years. He is the winner of the 2009 BBC Wildlife Travel Writers Award and the RSPCA National Media Award 2009 for "An outstanding and sustained contribution to the field of animal welfare." He lives in Luton, Bedfordshire.