A fascinating investigation into the miraculous world of birds and the powerful—and surprising—ways they enrich our lives and sustain the planet
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 endeavors: 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.
‘Jim Robbins writes masterfully with lucid prose and deep insight into the human psyche and natural world. In The Wonder of Birds he illuminates the realm of this extraordinary creature that is both a miracle of physiology and a poetic manifestation of our own transcendence.’ —Peter Stark, author of Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire
‘Jim Robbins's insight has brought even more perspective into a world I have been discovering most of my life and career with birds’ —Steve Malowski, Aviculturist, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
‘The Wonder of Birds provides a great and well-timed gift: a portrait of the quiet miracles around us each day of our ordinary lives. By sharing his perspective and insights, Robbins reminds us to slow down and to appreciate—and ultimately, to protect—a natural world that is essential for both our physical and spiritual well-being.’ —Michael Punke, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant and Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West
‘A peregrine falcon and a loggerhead shrike, my flying friends, came into the garden the day The Wonder of Birds arrived. I’m surprised they didn’t fly away with it…this exciting book of nature.’ —Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of The Global Forest
‘It’s one for the birds—what a wonderful book! It will give you wings.’ —Rita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle
Jim Robbins has written for the New York Times for more than thirty-five years, as well as Audubon, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian and Vanity Fair. He is the author of several books including The Man Who Planted Trees.