Nature never disappoints. Birds have generated more research and more art than any other group of animals in history, and thanks to Mike Unwin and Ryuto Miyake and their “Around the World in 80 Birds,” we have a beautifully illustrated, concise tale of what the bird world has to offer. The author states early on that narrowing to eighty birds is basically impossible, and that many of the most famous birds are left out, but that’s just the rules of this creative game.
In fact, I’ve already seen some of these birds, but the vast majority were new to me, as were their histories. But what also jumped out is the reality that many are in serious danger of going extinct. Humans are a strange lot. We love to kill. Habitat, species, food supplies, etc. In fact, we kinda specialize in it. And then based on such silly things as political affiliation, we then lie about what we are doing and what we actually did. (Just have a quick look at the Anaconda Copper Mine in Montana.)
But there are brief moments of hope in this book. Stories of human-induced near extinction followed by human-induced revival. It can happen and it has happened but the odds of success seem to be diminishing on a yearly basic. The moral, if you want to see these birds you better be making plans now. I view this book as a perfect book for kids. The illustrations are fantastic and the write ups about each bird are one to two page efforts, so easily digestible even for the shortest of attention spans. (Adults will appreciate this too.) Get it, read it, share it.