“David Alderton, MA (Cantab.) grew up in a home surrounded by pets and originally trained to be a vet until an allergic dermatitis forced a change of career in his final year of study. Since then, David has used his experience, knowledge and passion for the subject to concentrate on writing about animals and the natural world.

David also broadcasts regularly on television and radio, and has recently set up the website http://www.petinfoclub.com while his blog can be found at www.davidalderton.com His books have currently sold some 6.5 million copies worldwide and are available in 30 languages. He has won various awards for his work, including the Maxwell Medallion from the Dog Writers’ Association of America, and he is well-known as a columnist for various newspapers and magazines, as well as being the editor of “Practical Reptile Keeping” magazine.”

This week, in Cage & Aviary Birds, David writes that basic regular contact with birds is ‘one of the most valuable gifts we have for the next generation,’ and that the simplest of activities, such as the recent World Wildlife Day celebrations held by Haith’s, the well-known bird seed supplier, can create a ‘lifelong interest in birds.’ This could also make us better people according to recent research undertaken by (University of Exeter) as ‘watching birds near your home is good for your mental health.’ Researchers Dr Cox and Professor Kevin Gaston found that ‘watching birds makes people feel relaxed and connected to nature’ (Cox and Gaston, 2016).

David was inspired by his headmaster, a man called Stanley Bayliss Smith, ‘quite a prominent ornithologist of the time,’ he writes.

The article also pays homage to Prof Cooper whose acknowledged debt to his mentor – the naturalist Maxwell Knight – is the purpose of this blog.