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All over the world human cultures have their own unique relationships with birds. For the better part of a decade, author Mark Cocker and photographer David Tipling traveled far and wide seeking out and documenting these human-bird connections. Part natural history and part cultural study, Birds & People describes and maps the entire spectrum of human engagements with birds, drawing in themes of history, literature, art, cuisine, language, lore, politics, and the environment.
Mark Cocker writes in the book: "The sense of freedom evoked by birds in flight has been a source of inspiration alike to tribal communities and the world's major civilizations. Writers, poets, artists and composers have drawn on the qualities of birds for thousands of years. Today birds often play the role of ambassador in our entire relationship with nature. For environmentalists they are collectively the miner's canary, their populations helping us to gauge the health of natural environments from the inner city to the remote Arctic tundra. Yet our connections with birds far exceed any simple utilitarian value. Very often at a domestic level they are cherished for their own sake, as simple companions, as aesthetic adornments, and as expression of some unspoken bond between ourselves and the rest of nature."