ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Birds are everywhere – because they're common, sometimes people don’t notice them. This finely written book combines the personal joy and satisfaction of birdwatching with the pleasures of discovering more about our avian cohabitants. Robbins is American, but is interested in birds from around the world, and there are plenty of Australian examples here (even emu farms in Montana!) The book is also about human-avian relationships, how we interpret the miracles that are birds, and how they can show us the way to reconnect with nature. Effortless prose, fascinating insights and a delight to read! Lindy Jones
Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with them.
Birds, Jim Robbins posits, are our most vital connection to nature. They compel us to look to the skies, literally and metaphorically; draw us out into nature to seek their beauty; and let us experience vicariously what it is like to be weightless. Birds have helped us in many of our endeavours: learning to fly, providing clothing and food, and helping us better understand the human brain and body. And they even have much to teach us about being human.
A natural storyteller, Robbins illuminates how qualities unique to birds make them invaluable to humankind from the Australian brush turkey, which helped scientists discover how dinosaurs first flew, to the eagles in Washington D.C. that rehabilitated the troubled teenagers placed in charge of their care.
From the “good luck” ravens in England to the superb lyrebird, whose song is so sophisticated it can mimic koalas, crying babies and chainsaws, Robbins shows our close relationship with birds, the ways in which they are imperiled and how we must fight to save them for the sake of both the planet and humankind.