Every year, around about September, millions of individual birds from approximately forty different species leave their breeding grounds in the Arctic, fly through East Asia, and arrive on the coast of Australia. Every year, around about April, they fly back again. It’s one of the most spectacular mass migrations in the animal kingdom.
These birds, the migratory shorebirds, have existed on the earth for millions of years – as long as humans have been on earth, and much longer besides. How, then, might they have impressed themselves upon the human cultures of the countries through which they fly? And what impacts might human civilisation have had now and in the past upon the shorebirds?
I’m writing a book about this, and in particular I’m focussing on a single species: the eastern curlew, Numenius madagascariensis, the largest migratory shorebird in the world. The book will be published by Melbourne’s Affirm Press in 2017. If you click on the sidebar to the right you’ll see a long draft of Chapter 1. I wrote this before I’d signed the publishing contract, and the first chapter of the book when it appears will be shorter and a little different – but if you’re curious you can read it, and if you like that, I hope that you’ll also like the rest of the book when it comes out!