If nature had supermodels, birds would be the most highly sought after "talent." Between their colorful plumage and various behaviors, birds collectively have more observers and fans than any other creature.
My focus has been on water birds, not just because of their beauty but also because their decline in the early 20th Century due to poaching led to the U.S.’s first successful conservation movement. They represent hope for all threatened species.
While their populations recovered once feathers went out of fashion, they remain threatened due to climate change, development of wetlands and environmental degradation.