'Birdwatching has never felt like a hobby, or a pastime I can pick up and put down, but a thread running through the pattern of my life, so tightly woven in that there's no way of pulling it free and leaving the rest of my life intact.'
Meet Mya-Rose – otherwise known as Birdgirl. Birder, environmentalist, diversity activist. To date, she has seen over five thousand different types of bird: half the world's species. Every single bird a treasure. Each sighting a small step in her family journey – a collective moment of joy and stillness amidst her mother's deepening mental health crisis. And each helping her to find her voice.
Since she was young, she has visited every continent to pursue her passion, seeing first-hand the inequality and reckless destruction we are inflicting on our fragile planet. And the simple, mindful act of looking for birds has made her ever-more determined to campaign for all our survival. This is her story; a journey defined by her love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.
Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl, is a 19-year-old British-Bangladeshi birder, environmentalist, and diversity activist. She campaigns for equal access to nature, to end the climate and biodiversity loss crises, issues which she believes are intrinsically linked, whilst promoting Global Climate Justice. She also fights for the rights of indigenous peoples, is an Ambassador for Survival International and has previously written a book amplifying their voices.
Age 14 she founded Black2Nature, to engage minority ethnic teenagers with nature and at 17 she became the youngest Briton to receive an honorary Doctorate, awarded by Bristol University for this pioneering work. Also at 17 she became the youngest person to see half the world's bird species and shared a stage with Greta Thunberg, speaking to 40,000 protestors. In September 2020 she held the world's most northerly Youth Strike, travelling with Greenpeace, for whom she is an Oceans' Ambassador, to the melting pack ice of the high Arctic.
"Lyrical, poignant and insightful."
– Margaret Atwood
"Mya-Rose Craig has done more than anyone to promote birding and environmental issues to young people from all backgrounds – especially women of colour – and deserves our admiration and praise."
– Stephen Moss
"Mya-Rose's passion and dedication for the causes she believes in are testament to what we humans can achieve when we are at our best."
– Liz Bonnin
"Craig manages to capture so vividly what birds mean to her and her family [...] filled with [...] hope and energy."
"[Craig's] book reads like a cross between a travel diary, an ornithologist's guide and a thriller."
– The Times
"A frank, open account of how birdwatching provided solace during Mya-Rose's teenage years [...] [we are] given an insight into a fascinating family of bird-lovers."
– BBC Wildlife
"A must read for bird lovers."
"Inspiring [...] A forthright and compelling chronicle by a remarkable birder, environmentalist, and advocative"
"A delightful account of a young life devoted to birding – and the fight to save birds and the places they live"
– Stephen Moss