Robin, Libby

The idea that a bird is good news and needs all our support is probably the only thing amateur birdos, professional zoologists and ‘birdscapers’-people who redesign their gardens to support birdlife-have in common. But together they form a conservation community that cares about the future of birds and their habitats, who are working to heal the damage wrought by those who don’t notice birds. What Birdo is That? reveals how bird-people in Australia have gone about their craft across the years. Its stories come from wild places – at sea as well as on the land-from dusty archives, from restoration projects, gardens and urban wastelands. They are human stories, but the birds themselves interject and interrupt any self-important anthropocentrism. They educate. They counter the imperialism of the ever-expanding economies of the new millennium. They turn up in unexpected places, giving surprise and joy. This field guide to Australia’s bird-people provides a basis for understanding the complex relationship between people and birds in a land of extremes at the forefront of changing climate and habitats.

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Melbourne University Press, May 2023.  272 pages, paperback.