Fledgling by Hannah Bourne-Taylor

When lifelong bird-lover Hannah Bourne-Taylor moved with her husband to Ghana seven years ago she couldn’t have anticipated how her life would be forever changed by her unexpected encounters with nature and the subsequent bonds she formed.

Plucked from the comfort and predictability of her life before, Hannah struggled to establish herself in her new environment, striving to belong in the rural grasslands far away from home.

In this challenging situation, she was forced to turn inwards and interrogate her own sense of identity, however in the animal life around her, and in two wild birds in particular, Hannah found a source of solace and a way to reconnect with the world in which she was living.

Fledgling is a portrayal of adaptability, resilience and self-discovery in the face of isolation and change, fuelled by the quiet power of nature and the unexpected bonds with animals she encounters.

Hannah encourages us to reconsider the conventional boundaries of the relationships people have with animals through her inspiring and very beautiful glimpse of what is possible when we allow ourselves to connect to the natural world. 

Full of determination and compassion, Fledgling is apowerful meditation on our instinctive connection to nature. It shows that even the tiniest of birds can teach us what is important in life and how to embrace every day.


Fledgling by Hannah Bourne-Taylor is a beautifully written story of the authors journey of self discovery and the healing properties of her connection with the natural world around her. Moving to Ghana with her husband whose job took her away from family and friends. From a world she was familiar with, to a life that left her unmoored, with no feeling of belonging within the new world around her. It is intensely moving and brims with both hope and the author’s searing honesty about how her self confidence and mental health took a battering, as she sought a role in the new and intoxicating country she was now living in. Unable to work, she has to rebuild her identity and Fledgling tells the story of this journey.

It all sounds intensely worrying, but far from it! She lays out how she built a sense of hope and resilience in her life, through a deeply moving and inspiring connection with two wild birds, whom she rescued, raised by hand and then released back into the wild. What I loved about the book is how the author opened up about her struggles in this new life and then shared how she found answers to the powerful feelings and thoughts that troubled her. It felt to me ultimately uplifting and positive, by acknowledging with great sensitivity, that basic human need for connection with other living things.

Some of the most powerful elements of her writing are when she connects to the world that she found herself living in and as a result I felt I could almost walk from the pages into the Ghanaian grasslands. I felt the heart and the power of the storms and how fragile life is. The writing depicting a powerful sense of place. She brings it to life, not just the violence of the storms, or the life and death of the animals who lived there, but the quiet, intense moments that led to her finding understanding within the whirring turbulence of her own mind. .

She doesn’t treat us to a rose tinted view of her life or of the natural world around her. It’s what makes the book so moving, because though its pages are filled with an instinctive love of the natural world, the moments of life and death struggle bring perspective to the writing and the story she is telling. It helped her and me the reader, find peace and acceptance in our own mortality.

We can learn so much from Hannah Bourne Taylor’s Fledgling! That really important things are found in our connection to the natural world around us. That the constant and modern obsession with things, with technology, can not bring us peace and pale into insignificance to the majesty and power of the natural world to heal us.

It is a superb read, moving and uplifting.

You can buy this book from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the writer

A writer and photographer, Hannah moved to Ghana with her husband in 2013 – there, she couldn’t have imagined how her life would be forever changed by her unexpected encounters with nature and the bonds she found herself forming.

Her debut book, Fledgling is a powerful account of her want to belong to a new, unfamiliar place and struggle to reshape her identity when all normality has fallen away.

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