"An exquisitely beautiful book ...These stories about birds are ultimately reflections on the curious nature of humanity itself"
— Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
There is no denying that many people are crazy for birds. Packed with intriguing facts and exquisite and rare artwork, Birdmania showcases an eclectic and fascinating selection of bird devotees who would do anything for their feathered friends.
In addition to well-known enthusiasts such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, and Helen Macdonald, Brunner introduces readers to Karl Russ, the pioneer of “bird rooms,” who had difficulty renting lodgings when landlords realized who he was; George Lupton, a wealthy Yorkshire lawyer, who commissioned the theft of uniquely patterned eggs every year for twenty years from the same unfortunate female guillemot who never had a chance to raise a chick; George Archibald, who performed mating dances for an endangered whooping crane called Tex to encourage her to lay; and Mervyn Shorthouse, who posed as a wheelchair-bound invalid to steal an estimated ten thousand eggs from the Natural History Museum at Tring.
"In his lively tour de bird obsessive, Bernd Brunner captures the antics and agonies of the human longing to connect with our feathered brethren, encounters that usually reveal even more about ourselves than the bird in hand."
—Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix
"A delightful exploration into the enduring allure of one of nature’'s most charismatic creatures."
— Mark Barrow, author of A Passion for Birds
"There are more of us bird crazies out here than you know. Birdmania will make you want to become one, too. As always, Bernd Brunner's writing is scintillating and comprehensive as he explores another mysterious aspect of human obsession."
—David Rothenberg, author of Why Birds Sing and Survival of the Beautiful
"Like bird watching itself, reading Birdmania is filled with surprises and a sense of discovery. But in this collection it is the watchers, not the birds, who are on display —ornithologists and bird lovers of every description, revealed in sketches and anecdotes that are quirky, intriguing, and always affectionate. Highly enjoyable."
—Thor Hanson, author of Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle
"Birdmania delves into the extraordinarily wide range of people who have observed and documented these beautiful and fascinating creatures. Read this book and be inspired."
—Bernd Heinrich, author of One Wild Bird at a Time
"Brunner's lively prose and provocative imagery reveal that birds and people have had deep and important connections for millennia."
—John Marzluff, author of Welcome to Subirdia and Gifts of the Crow
"An exquisitely beautiful book, Bernd Brunner's survey of our historical and cultural relationship with birds is packed with anecdote and interest, and populated with a cast of fascinating and memorable figures who helped forge how we think of birds today, from adventurers to bird-keepers, artists to ornithologists. These stories about birds are ultimately reflections on the curious nature of humanity itself."
—Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
"Our knowledge of science and natural history is built on the images and writings of those that came before us. Birdmania is a beautiful tribute to the pioneers who immersed themselves in the world of birds."
—Gerrit Vyn, author of The Living Bird“Birdmania is a fascinating kaleidoscope of colorful stories that illustrate the great variety of connections between humans and birds throughout time. Sit back and enjoy these tales of falconers, explorers, egg collectors, scientists, musicians, artists, criminals, doting bird owners, bird watchers, and people who have devoted their lives, and sometimes lost them, in their efforts to learn more about avian life. You will be well rewarded.”
—Jo Miles Schuman, co-editor, with Joanna Bailey Hodgman, of A Spicing of Birds: Poems by Emily Dickinson