The story of how we have always been stirred by seabirds, the pattern of their lives, their habitats, the threats they face, the folklore, and the inspiration they've brought to poets, writers, musicians and painters in their extraordinarily long lives. We have lived with seabirds for at least 300,000 years. From the beginning, our view of them has been double, as creatures that are both deeply distant and yet strangely connected to us, both oceanic in what they represent and a mirror of what we are. They stand in for our relationship with nature as a whole. We use them and love them, nurture them and destroy them, revere them and make toys and hats and dinner out of them. It is a pattern that has evolved over history, and our relationship with seabirds has moved through these phases like steps in a game of hopscotch. At each moment, one part recognizes the otherness of the birds; one sees them as an aspect of who we are. But the four phases are all one: eat them, revere them; sell them, admire them; disrupt their world, try to protect them; destroy the ocean, grasp their genius.Through much of human time, and at a foundation level, the model has been one of predation and reverence. We both took the birds and saw something magical in them. They were food and poetry, metaphors for what we are or might be and sustenance for often poor and marginal island and coastal communities. In a beautiful evocation of the natural world that we both abuse and treasure, 'The Seabird's Cry' tells long story of seabirds as a barometer of human life on earth.