The second of our two Books of the Month for June is Matt Sewell’s ‘Save Our Birds’, published today by Ebury. Here’s a Shag to celebrate!
Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
The coastal seafaring Shag should not be mistaken for the much more common Cormorant, being from the same family they look practically identical apart from the Shag’s fantastic quiff and emerald green eyes. It is the Cormorant that you may have spotted at inland watering destinations, holding aloft their dark wings to dry in the sun. This sinister look is practised by all cormorants because, unlike a lot of seabirds, their wings aren’t waterproof. Rather than trapping air, water flows through feathers with ease, which is a helpful aid when it comes to diving for food. This is something they excel at: they are famed hunters who will eat anything, including discarded fishing equipment and the dreaded microplastics. Sadly, these divers also rely heavily on the sand eel family for a huge portion of their diet and, like many other seabirds, this has caused a decline in their population as sand eels have decreased in number.
‘Save Our Birds: How to bring our favourite birds back from the brink of extinction’ is out now (£12.00). Though copies of the book have officially sold out in our online shop, we will have a couple of available on our stand at the Independent Label Market on 10 July. Caught by the River copies of the book come exclusively 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. Alternatively you can buy a standard copy via our Bookshop.org page.