Tim Beatley will humbly tell you that he’s not a birder. But in his new book, there are enough appearances by obscure members of the class Aves to suggest that birds are more than a passing interest for him and may in fact be a strong motivation behind his life’s work. In The Bird Friendly City: Creating Safe Urban Habitats, the University of Virginia professor of sustainable communities talks of waiting “expectantly each spring” at his home for returning ruby-throated hummingbirds. He frets over the perils that a warmer planet poses to one of his favorite songbirds, the eastern wood thrush, and its “flute-like song.” And as a teenage boy learning to fly gliders, he says that he imagined himself as one of the turkey vultures he shared the thermals with. “To me, a soaring Vulture was always the epitome of beauty and grace in action,” Beatley writes. “They seemed to defy physics.” The book, published Nov. 5, attests to the need both to have nature in the cities we call home and to make those cities more hospitable toward it, with birds often the most visible — and audible — sign of the overlap between the urban and natural worlds. Beatley highlights the need for bird-friendly buildings that incorporate new window designs and lighting schemes to minimize the roughly 1 billion bird deaths that result from window strikes each year. He also visits with local groups that build habitats for burrowing owls and construct “catios” where domestic cats can…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer