Tonight, we’ll read selections from “The Bird Watcher in the Shetlands” by Edmund Selous, written in 1905. If you enjoy this episode, be sure to listen to our others from this birdwatching series at snoozecast.com/series.
The author started as a conventional naturalist of his time, but Selous developed a disdain of the common practice of killing animals for scientific study. He was a pioneer of bird-watching as a method of scientific study. The author was a solitary man and was not well known in ornithological circles. He avoided both the company of ornithologists and reading their observations so as to base his conclusions entirely on his own observations. He has gifted future generations with his beautiful and intuitive writing on birds. The island of Shetland is the northernmost part of Scotland.
The archipelago has a complex geology, a rugged coastline, and many low, rolling hills. The islands have produced a variety of prose writers and poets, who have often written in the distinctive Shetland dialect of the Scots language.