My wife grew up in suburban London - not an environment that was conducive, one might think, to developing an interest in wildlife. But her father was a bird lover and he helped her, too, to develop a love for the birds that inhabited their garden.

When we moved (in my case, back) to New Zealand, it took her a little time to adjust to the absence of the robins and blue tits and other birds that were familiar inhabitants of an English garden.

But, over time, she developed an equal interest in New Zealand bird life - and she