Len Howard (1894-1973) spent the second half of her life in a small, remote house in the English countryside. She wrote two international bestsellers about robins, tits, sparrows, and other birds living in and around her house. Although not originally a biologist, she was a pioneer in the field of animal research. She studied birds on the basis of their trust and observed their character, peculiarities and habits. In the meantime, their mutual appreciation and friendship grew.
Howard knew as a girl that she would not stay in her town of birth in Sussex. The soirées and romantic intrigues of the countryside high society bored her. But in the end she gave up her career as a violinist in London, in order to move to Ditchling in Southern England, where she slowly gained the trust of the many birds surrounding her cottage. Her musical hearing permitted her to differentiate between the nuances in their languages – at least when she was able to keep the mailman and visitors at bay. Bird Cottage is a book about music, the songs of birds and great tit conventions. It is also a book about resistance, and about deciding what is important.
‘An entertaining and thought-provoking read.’ – The Guardian on the English edition
'Eva Meijer writes an eye-opening story about a woman who loves birds. This ‘bird-friend’ is portrayed naturally, without eccentricity or activism.' – De Volkskrant****
'It is Eva Meijer's accomplishment that she manages to arrange the lose events in Howard's life in such an inspiring manner. So inspiring and often also so touching that during my reading of Bird Cottage for a moment I felt part of a natural and meaningful whole.' – NRC****
'It is the achievement of Eva Meijer that you will identify with Len Howard completely and that you will call her passion your own. She is no outsider, the humans without birds are.' – Tzum