Birds in a Cage

Germany, 1941. Four PoW Birdwatchers. The Unlikely Beginning Of British Wildlife Conservation

by Derek Niemann

  • Published: 02 May 2013
  • Price: £8.99
  • Format: B Format Paperback
  • Extent: 320p
  • ISBN: 978-1-78072-136-1

At Warburg, Germany, in 1941, four British PoWs find an unexpected means of escape from the horrors of internment when they form a birdwatching society, and embark on an obsessive quest behind barbed wire.

Through their shared love of birds, they overcome hunger, hardship, fear and stultifying boredom. Their quest draws in not only their fellow prisoners, but also some of the German guards, at great risk to them all…

Derek Niemann draws on original diaries, letters and drawings, to tell of how Conder, Barrett, Waterston and Buxton were forged by their experiences as POWs into the giants of post war wildlife conservation. Their legacy lives on, in institutions such as the RSPB and the British Wildlife Trust.

“Brings to life the remarkable and moving story of four men’s passion for the natural world.”
Carl Nicholson, <i>Financial Times</i>
“This is a treasure, uniting history and the struggle to survive, and how birds augment our time here.”
John Bird, <i>Big Issue</i>
“A surreal, very British comedy arises when caged men watch birds in the middle of the biggest war in history.”
Mark Cocker, <i>Guardian</i>

About Derek Niemann

Derek Niemann is the editor of the RSPB’s children’s magazine and has written several books on nature and conservation for young readers. He lives in Bedfordshire with his family.