ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds @unbounders #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

I’m delighted to be reviewing this acerbic yet beautiful book today. My thanks to Unbound for the review copy of the book and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for the place on the tour.


Have you ever looked a bird dead in the eye and wondered what it was thinking?

With Effin’ Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:

  • The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
  • The hipster pelican thinks the world is a shitbarge.
  • The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, fucknuts.
  • The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a dickhead.
  • … and many, many more.

Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate
illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it’s just some pictures of effin’ birds, okay?


Where to begin….. I’m not sure I know! This is such an unusual and unique book.

First of all, this is a beautifully presented book. The cover is a delight and each and every page holds a fabulous illustration. Most are in black and white but there are two sections of absolutely gorgeous colour illustrations too. All the illustrations are taken from three well known natural history publications.

Effin’ Birds is A Field Guide to Identification but if you’re expecting serious bird watching facts then this is not for you. Instead this is an alternative guide to bird identification, where the author has given us an insight into what each bird is thinking and it ain’t pretty!

Each bird has its own particular put down or offensive comment and it really made me laugh to imagine birds thinking (or maybe tweeting) these rude comments. And then on most pages there is a species of bird with a bit of information about it, what its habitat is and any identifying characteristics, again all very tongue in cheek.

This is a book of many parts. It’s pretty enough to be a coffee table book, it’s funny, it’s informative if you take it with a pinch of salt. The combination of the language with the vintage illustrations makes for an attractive combination. It’s a book you can read from start to finish or just dip into when you feel like some light humour.

I’ll look at birds differently from now on and may just shrivel up under their glare and the knowledge of their scathing thoughts!



Aaron Reynolds is the author of @EffinBirds and @swear_trek and the curator of @BatLabels. He is also a software instructor, which is where most of his elfin’ inspiration comes from.

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