How Birds got their Names, with Stephen Moss

Stephen Moss, President of Somerset Wildlife Trust, was the original producer of BAFTA-winning Springwatch and author of the books Dynasties and Planet Earth II (with forewords from David Attenborough)


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For this talk, Stephen combines detective work, natural history, folklore and first hand observations to explore how birds got their names and our long and eventful relationship with the natural world.

From when humans and birds first shared the earth to our fraught present-day coexistence, Stephen shows how the names we give to birds reveal as much about ourselves and our relationship with the natural world as about the creatures they describe.

Stephen is passionate about communicating the wonders of the natural world to the widest possible audience. He has written more than 30 books on nature and wildlife and his latest, Mrs Moreau's Warbler: How Birds Got Their Names, is published by Guardian/Faber. Amongst many distinguished titles the fabulous Planet Earth 2 is an extraordinary, ground-breaking look at the complex life of some of the most amazing places on Planet Earth.


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Stephen Moss

As well as his many TV credits Stephen Moss writes a monthly Birdwatch column for the Guardian, frequent articles for BBC Wildlife and Birdwatch magazines, and presents a primetime BBC Radio 4 series on birdsong. Stephen is a former producer at the BBC Natural History Unit, with a TV career that has spanned three decades. He produced The Great British Wildlife Revival - a six-part primetime series on BBC.

He also teaches an MA in Travel & Nature Writing at Bath Spa University.

Stephen lives on the Somerset Levels and describes his Somerset garden as “an acre of paradise here in the West Country. The sun is shining, birds are singing and spring is (almost!) here... my favourite season is about to kick off.”

He writes in his “garden office, looking out across the view to the Mendip Hills. I write accompanied by the sound of mewing buzzards, laughing green woodpeckers, chatty song thrushes and, at night, hooting tawny owls.”

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2019Martin Keeley