There's nothing casual about Casual Birding

A rehabilitated Wilson's Snipe rests for a few seconds in Faraaz Abdool's hand before it returns to its wetland habitat. -
A rehabilitated Wilson's Snipe rests for a few seconds in Faraaz Abdool's hand before it returns to its wetland habitat. -

Tim Bartholomew

I was hooked from the opening sentence of Casual Birding in Trinidad and Tobago by Faraaz Abdool: “We live in a world not by ourselves, but with innumerable cohabitants, each with its own specific role and responsibility in keeping the system functional.”

Abdool is an Audubon Society-recognised conservationist, teacher/lecturer, naturalist and bird photographer of immense talent. He is a communicator with razor-sharp clarity of vision, whose mission is simple: to persuade humanity to save itself from itself through the art of casual birding; of learning awareness of Mother Earth by being open to her presence all round us.

I had not read a birding book before – and never expected to read one, frankly, especially not from cover to cover. However, I have been riveted by Casual Birding; so much so it become part of my daily routine. Right now, I could easily dash off a couple of thousand words extolling the virtues of the 500-plus extraordinary bird photographs, the airily spaced design of the text, the pace of the writing and the wealth of detail about 175 of TT’s most iconic birds.

However, what Abdool has really stirred in me is an urgent desire to stand on rooftops and cry out to recalcitrant humanity that now is the time to get a grip, seize the inconvenient and take our finger off the self-destruct button. We have so little time (I would continue, knocking heads together) to save ourselves from our own sense of superiority, entitlement and instant gratification. Now is the time to preserve the natural world – with ourselves as an integral part of it – for future generations. The time for excuses has run out.

Faraaz Abdool holds his book Casual Birding in Trinidad and Tobago. -

TT is most fortunate to have Faraaz Abdool. One of its pre-eminent evangelists for Mother Earth, he is the nation’s very own Sir David Attenborough. I hope someone in power will read this book, sit up and take notice, and make decisions to curb deforestation in favour of eco-tourism and sustainability.

This beautiful book is a mouthwatering educational experience and a must for all Caribbean birders – for everyone who cares whether humanity continues for more than another generation or two.

Tim Bartholomew is an avid TT bird enthusiast and photographer, having married Julie, daughter of Trini “Birdman” Richard ffrench. He is in the final stages of his fifth novel, An Angel in Tobago.


"There’s nothing casual about Casual Birding"

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