Roadrunners are known from cartoons. Ravens are known to poetry lovers. Eagles are known as figures in ancient mythology and as modern national symbols. Birds have fascinated people throughout history. This captivating collection of 99 essays offers a well-researched but easy-to-read look at birds as familiar as the sparrow and as seldom-seen as the albatross, from dancing varieties (crane) to sacred ones (ibis) to those associated with practical jokes and assassinations (snipe). Alphabetically arranged by type of bird, the essays combine the author's extensive field experience with reflections drawn from biology, ecology, literature, music, history, linguistics, politics, sports, entertainment, and other areas. References range from Homer's description of a cormorant in flight to mentions of birds in Monty Python sketches; from the filmmaking of Alfred Hitchcock to the music of Robyn Hitchcock. No previous knowledge of birds is necessary to appreciate the book, which is illustrated with classic images from John James Audubon's The Birds of America.