Caught by the River

Matt Sewell’s Save Our Birds

Matt Sewell | 3rd April 2021

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Put simply, a lot of our birds are endangered because the UK and Europe just isn’t wild enough anymore. All of our outdoor spaces are owned, managed and pumped full of chemicals to yield as much from the earth as possible. Luckily for the Black Redstart, it’s a different kind of wildness that it needs to thrive, loving disused urban areas whose crumbled stonework is spiked with weeds and wildflowers and alive with bugs and flies. These incredibly rare black and orange birds can be spotted in our busiest cities if you’re lucky, and hopefully that will increasingly be the case as organisations set up green roofs to help them thrive. Wasteland and rubble in our gentrified urban areas may be a thing of the past, but let’s pray our future is graced with the urban wildness of the Black Redstart.


Taken from Matt’s new book ‘Save Our Birds: How to bring our favourite birds back from the brink of extinction’, to be published by Ebury on 24 June. Caught by the River copies of the book exclusively come with a Hawfinch postcard, signed by Matt. Additionally we will be donating 10% of sales from the book to Matt’s chosen charity, Back From The Brink. Preorder your copy of the book here (£12.00).