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Eastern Kingbird by Mike Benkis

Book review: Better Living Through Birding

In the recently published memoir, Better Living Through Birding: Notes From a Black Man in the Natural World, author Christian Cooper reminds us through his life experiences to imagine others complexly. 

Before he was an activist, before he knew he was gay, before he graduated Harvard, and before he worked as an editor at Marvel Comics, Christian Cooper was a birder. Cooper’s passion for his lifelong hobby led him to travel extensively in pursuit of what he terms, “The Seven Pleasures of Birding.” Birders worldwide can relate to these pleasures, which include “the joy of collecting,” “the joy of puzzle solving,” and my personal favorite, “the joy of being in a natural setting.”

ASO members may recognize Cooper for his involvement with NYC Audubon, and his 2023 National Geographic series Extraordinary Birder. Better Living Through Birding is available in physical, digital, and audio formats through Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Council Bluffs, and La Vista Public Libraries. Especially recommended is the audiobook, as listeners get the added bonus of bird songs in every chapter.

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