A Bird in the Hand, a book by Bill Doherty

A Bird in the Hand, (Hardback)
ISBN-10: 0955197309
ISBN-13: 978-0955197307

"A book for the country person"

Article text
Some signed copies available from myself,
£18 including postage and packing UK only
One day, it occurred to me that nobody had dared to write about bird-trapping before in any form or guise – not the horrible, cruel times depicted in various Thomas Hardy writings or the cash-driven, bird-dealer era of today, but that short period when our forebears were beginning to realise that they were bird-lovers and how interesting the closer study of birds in the wild and in captivity could be. The fear of reprisals from various avian organisations or wildlife and conservation bodies, or the damning of their work as a handbook for birdtrappers will have put off many authors who might otherwise have enlightened or entertained us.
I decided to take up the challenge of furnishing the bird world with such a manuscript, to provide an account of what went on, and to some extent why, even though the time I write about was the transitional period shortly after the first of the principle wildlife and countryside laws was implemented. I have endeavoured to chronicle through the eager eyes of youth a collection of my memories, which are in their own way a quite unusual record of activities. I have gone over my past for just the right people to accompany me on my journey and have included a varied cast of characters. To these I have added a faithful canine companion, true incidences – some happy, some sad – interesting observations on wildlife and a drip-feed of educational tips for the would-be bird-lover and countryside person. I have also included some local interest in the form of descriptions of the beautiful area of Northumberland where I was brought up and accounts of bygone days that will hopefully jog many memories.

I write as a bird-lover, an aviculturalist, a country diarist and established author of many articles in national avian publications. I have studied this country’s wonderful wildlife all my life, and there has never been a dull moment during my wanderings on which I may see what others may often miss. My bird-keeping life has also given me a great deal of pleasure, and I have been able to draw from it for the purposes of research.

My A Bird in the Hand tells of the beginnings of my involvement with keeping birds, and also of wild bird catchers among the birdmen known to me during my youth. I have documented the ways of these men not only as trappers and poachers, but as most knowledgeable aviculturalists and countrymen, from who I learnt so much.

Set in the hard mining areas of the north-east of England in the early 1960’s, the book will take you, the reader on vivid journeys into woods, fields, hedgerows and bird-sheds, and I hope that my descriptive writing style will continually displays my passion for wildlife, while fully bringing to life the times and individuals. The book fully conveys a child’s exciting journey of discovery, and the depth of gratitude, admiration, acknowledgement and acceptance of each highlighted individual is truly profoundly balanced in I hope, just the right measure.

Considered my best book todate, and one that I love to read myself.