Professor Nick Davies has been described by David Attenborough as ‘one of the UK’s greatest field naturalists’. In his book ‘Cuckoo – Cheating By Nature’ Nick takes us on a detective story into the life of these extraordinary birds. Not only how they cheat to survive, but how cheating evolves and thrives in the natural world.
We’re delighted that Nick will be joining us at NiddFest. Both for an early morning bird walk through Spring Wood in Wath at 7am on Saturday 6 August, then talking about his book at St Chad’s, Middlesmoor later that day at 2.45pm. Book tickets HERE.
Here is Nick’s Q and A:
1. What is your earliest memory of the natural world?
Lying in bed as a little boy in my home village of Formby, on the Lancashire coast, listening to the cries of pink-footed geese flying to roost.
2. Did you always want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a bird watcher. I only wanted to write once I had made some discoveries which I thought would be worth telling others about.
3. Who were the authors or who inspired you to start writing?
As a schoolboy, my trinity of naturalist heroes were: Charles Darwin (The Origin of Species), David Lack (The Life of the Robin) and Niko Tinbergen (The Herring Gull’s World). Later, as a student, I was inspired by Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene; in fact all his books).
4. Do you have a favorite place or landscape?
The north Norfolk coast, with its salt marshes, shingle and sand dunes and huge skies.
5. How do you feel about the state of the natural world today?
It’s sad to see nature squeezed to the margins of our greedy human world. But encouraging that young students are inspired by conservation and we must continue to hope for a change in our values.
6. Do you have a motto?
Make the most of every day and try to be kind.
7. What are you working on at the moment?
I study cuckoos and their hosts in the fens, a fascinating evolutionary battle involving trickery and defences.
8. What are your three ‘desert island’ reads and why?
On a desert island I’d need: a book to remind me about the world’s birds, so ideally “Handbook of the Birds of the World”; a collection of poetry, so “The Best Poems of the English Language” selected by Harold Bloom (the largest single volume I have); and “The complete works of Shakespeare”.