The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future
- Publish Date: 2017-05-30
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Jim Robbins
A fascinating investigation into the miraculous world of birds and the powerfulâand surprisingâways they enrich our lives and sustain the planet
Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually 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, both 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 so many of our human 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 in the natural world.
This book illuminates qualities unique to birds that demonstrate just how invaluable they are to humankindâboth ecologically and spiritually. The wings of turkey buzzards influenced the Wright brothersâ flight design; the chickadeeâs song is considered by scientists to be the most sophisticated language in the animal world and a âwindow into the evolution of our own language and our societyâ; and the quietly powerful presence of eagles in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Anacostia, in Washington, D.C., proved to be an effective method for rehabilitating the troubled young people placed in charge of their care.
Exploring both cutting-edge scientific research and our oldest cultural beliefs, Robbins moves these astonishing creatures from the background of our lives to the foreground, from the quotidian to the miraculous, showing us that we must fight to save imperiled bird populations and the places they live, for the sake of both the planet and humankind.
Praise for The Wonder of Birds
âA must-read, conveying much necessary information in easily accessible form and awakening oneâs consciousness to what might otherwise be taken for granted . . . The Wonder of Birds reads like the story of a kid let loose in a candy store and given free rein to sample. That is one of its strengths: the convertâs view gives wide appeal to those who might never have known birds well.ââBernd Heinrich, The Wall Street Journal
âEngaging, thoughtful . . . worthy of a place alongside David Attenboroughâs documentary The Life of Birds or Graeme Gibsonâs The Bedside Book of BirdsÂ . . . This offering will appeal to naturalists, anthropologists, linguists, and even philosophers as well as to lay readers.ââLibrary Journal
âIn this deeply felt and well-supported argument for aviansâ value to humankind, science writer Robbins hits the full trifecta for engrossing and satisfying nature writing.ââPublishers Weekly (starred review)
âUsing enchanting stories and rich historical references, Jim Robbins explores the role of birds on the evolution of human self-awareness.ââRobert F. Kennedy, Jr.
âItâs one for the birdsâwhat a wonderful book! It will give you wings.ââRita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle
âThe Wonder of Birds provides a great and well-timed gift: a portrait of the quiet miracles around us on each day of our ordinary lives.ââMichael Punke, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant
âJim Robbins writes masterfully, with lucid prose and deep insight into the human psyche and natural world.ââPeter Stark, author of Astoria