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Birds and Belonging: The Return of the Avocet, 1947–1969

  • Sophia Davis
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter weaves a different intruder into the region. In 1947, the avocet began breeding in two areas flooded for war-related reasons, Havergate Island and Minsmere, after a hundred-year absence from Britain. Guarded and kept secret by former servicemen, the birds then came under the protection of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), who took the birds’ success as a symbol for British nature conservation, later making the bird their logo. This story captured the public imagination, and I explore its themes of militarised nature, showing how the story was framed in terms of secrecy and privacy and was related to the public as a continuation of wartime watching and guarding. Protecting birds also appeared in post-war fiction as a way for returning servicemen to recover, where nature appeared both as intrinsically militarised and simultaneously as a refuge from war: the Britain they had been fighting for.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophia Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.BerlinGermany

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