I wrote this book for a number of reasons.
The first is, well, it sounded like fun! Fossil birds is a great topic for a book because there have been so many significant breakthroughs in what we know about early birds and their closest non-avian dinosaurian relatives just within the time that I’ve been doing paleo (less than 20 years – that sounds like a long time but it doesn’t feel that way).
I had no idea birds were so interesting when I first started studying their Mesozoic relatives and I totally fell in love with the group (the extinct species as much as the living ones). I wanted to share this fascination with everyone. Kids, as the scientists of the future, are the most important target audience. We can only love what we know and through this book, everyone can “get to know” birds, starting with the earliest known stages of their evolution, and I hope they will also fall in love.
However, I wasn’t going to write the book if I couldn’t do a plug for sustainability at the end. Paleo may be my passion but nothing should be more important to humanity than to learn to be better stewards of this planet that is our home. The world is a daunting place and I can only imagine how it feels to be a kid inheriting these problems. That’s why I want to both take responsibility and offer hope – if we are the cause, we can also be the solution!