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Early Bird Houses in England

Adrian Thomas writes in his online site about saving birds. The title of one of the articles is simply “Restore Nature Now .”

The focus of the article, dated January 22, 2016, is the nineteenth century English bird-lover Charles Waterton.

I first met Waterton in the book English Garden Eccentrics: Three Hundred Years of Extraordinary Groves, Burrowings, Mountains and Menageries.

It seems that Waterton built birdhouses in his garden. He loved to watch birdlife through a telescope. When he decided he wanted to encourage them to nest, people would come to see the birdhouses and, of course, the birds.

What made him notable was that he was a pioneer bird watcher.

Waterton wrote “To the industry, then, of the gardener we are indebted for scenes of beauty quite unparalleled; and to his science we owe the possession of every wholesome fruit and root.”

He ends his support for the gardener with these thoughts:

“Were I asked my opinion of a highly-cultivated English flower-garden, I should say that it is the loveliest sight in rural nature; and, moreover, that if it afforded me an opportunity of listening to the song of birds, I should pronounce it little short of absolute perfection.”


Charles Waterton (1782-1865) Naturalist, National Portrait Gallery

A cat’s head? Really? Charles Waterton may have been eccentric but he was also a well-respected 18th-century conservationist.

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