The Wonder Of Birds. What They Tell Us About Ourselves, The World, And A Better Future by Jim Robbins is full of fascinating insight into how the bird and the human world connect (as the title cleverly points out.) I wish that everyone would open their eyes to these animals (and I don’t just say this because I like to bird watch.) Robbins is a great choice to help you because he is an author who writes simply enough for you to grasp the ideas, while at the same time not being boring.
A third of the endangered birds in the United States are in Hawaii, more than in any other state.
I believe that one of the best ways to learn about a subject is to find writers that are invested in a myriad of non-fiction subjects that are not the same. I think that those authors are more creative when it comes to each of their chosen subjects because they have been specifically drawn to a certain aspect of said subject. And that is not to say that authors who only write about one subject aren’t fantastic at what they do. I just like to find someone who wants to broaden their knowledge about a whole host of things. I feel that way because I’m that kind of person.
Demand for seabird guano continued to soar, especially as it became a source of the nitrogen-rich saltpeter essential to the manufacture of explosives. It was so prized that in 1856 the United States passed the Guano Islands Act, which treated bird poop as a strategic material and authorized the Navy to seize any island rich in guano as long as it was not under a foreign government’s jurisdiction. More than a hundred islands came into U.S posession this way.
Other bird book recommendations: Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet by Maria Mudd Ruth; Bird Song by Don Stap; Birdology by Sy Montgomery
Canaries served as toxic gas monitors until the 1980’s, when they were phased out and replaced with electronic equipment.