Dominic (pictured) was responding to a question about the value of TV nature programmes, in an interview with editor Jean Morgan.
‘Where would the conservation movement be without TV documentaries,’ Dominic replied. ‘They’re of a consistently high standard and almost everybody loves them. At whatever level they’re pitched, they are valuable.’
The biggest danger is when the programmes become ‘too gloomy’, he added. ‘I genuinely believe that, when people are moved to wonder, excitement and interest, they’ll automatically become conservationists.’
A leading ornithologist and prolific writer of bird books, he addressed such topics as faith, ecotourism and climate change. ‘I honestly believe God has guided my career at every stage,’ he said, ‘and I owe every “break” I’ve had to him.’
Dominic wrote 100 Birds To See In Your Lifetime with A Rocha UK trustee David Chandler. He writes for BBC Wildlife and Bird Watching. ‘The battle for the planet is one for hearts and minds,’ he told Root & Branch, ‘and I’d like to think that any book about birds of the world will have a positive effect.’
Surprisingly, when Jean asked about his most memorable encounter with the natural world, it wasn’t about birds. ‘It was when my wife Carolyn and I went shopping one afternoon at the local supermarket,’ he explained.
‘Admittedly we were in northern Norway. And, on the drive back to our holiday apartment, she asked if we could stop for her to get the perfect photograph of a reindeer.
‘Carolyn got out of the car, quite naturally flushing the reindeer, and I looked out of the window, sighing and twiddling my thumbs. At this point, I noticed an iceberg in the water just offshore.
‘This was decidedly puzzling, because this fjord never freezes. It was only when the iceberg sank down that I realised the white apparition was a living thing.’ The rest of Dominic’s story features in the magazine.