Naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt, an ornithology teacher and researcher, examines the amazing talents and personalities of the most common of birds. Some birdwatchers will hop the red-eye to Costa Rica if a rare species is reported to be in residence. She makes the argument for sticking close to home. She muses on the tarnished reputation of the starling, the sexed-up antics of male woodpeckers, and the mysterious behavior and startling population explosion of crows in her hometown. Through the eye and voice of this talented writer, birds provide a fascinating point of contact with the natural world at large.