Poet and Rumi translator Coleman Barks has observed that all the mystical traditions revere birds and their songs. They represent our yearnings for purity, freedom, play, and deliver "messages of ineffable joy." In addition, we can appreciate them as fellow pilgrims on earth, guides to the meaning of place, soul singers, and ambassadors from other worlds. As nature enthusiast Barry Lopez notes: "Birds tug at the mind and heart with a strange intensity."

We have curated the content on S&P about birds — books, children's books, DVDs, quotes, stories, excerpts, poetry, and prayers — to give you a good sampling of all the many ways to view them and appreciate them.