OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES WITH BIRDS BREEDING IN BOTSWANA
Ken and Mel Oake P.O.Box 108 Maun, Botswana.
496 pages, including over 1,100 colour photographs.
Format, A4 Binding: Flexi cover, stitched
This is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill bird-book - it is a lifetime’s active and dedicated observation in some of Botswana’s finest birding areas packed into one large volume. Ken Oake is a well-known birder in northern Botswana, and his special interest is in nesting birds. In this regard he has a unique and extraordinary talent for finding birds’ nests, and the species accounts that feature most of Botswana’s breeding birds form the basis for this book.
Although amateur birders, the Oakes have kept meticulous records over a protracted period so that the book in its entirety is an accurate chronicle of Botswana’s birdlife and contemporary bird conservation issues in the country. However, it is not a scientific treatise – it is embellished with personal accounts of the trials and tribulations that go with pursuing any worthwhile dream, and this makes it eminently readable. The Oakes’ passion for birds brings the pages to life.
The species accounts can be dipped into at random, but most people would probably read the book from cover to cover. This is because the Oakes have made so many interesting and original observations on the birds - they have not just seen, but have photographed hitherto unrecorded bird behaviour. This is one of the real strengths of the book. The comprehensive set of photographs that accompany the breeding records add colour and authenticity to the observations. The line drawings and colour illustrations bring an artistic touch to the book.
This book is a major contribution to our knowledge of Botswana’s avifauna. It is unlikely to be superseded and will certainly become a collector’s item.