The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that nearly 50 million people in the United States are “bird-watchers,” many of whom set up elaborate (and expensive) feeding stations to attract wild birds into their own backyards.

Total U.S. expenditures on bird-watching equipment, field guides, food, and travel exceeds $30 billion (yes with a “B”) annually.

Why is bird-watching so popular?

In his new book, “Bird Brains: Inside the Strange Minds of Our Fine Feathered Friends,” Budd Titlow explains that wild birds are windows on the natural world. They all have stories to tell us. If we carefully watch and listen to them, we will understand what each bird has to “say” about themselves and the world in which they – and we – live.

In “Bird Brains,” Titlow tells his favorites stories about 100 wild birds. Illustrated with stunning photographs, these stories come from things he has seen, heard, and learned during 40 years of roaming the hills and dales, prairies and pastures, and swamps and shores of our great land.

Titlow wrote “Bird Brains” as a book for everyone, from seasoned birders to anyone searching for an engrossing new pastime. His goal is to inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds to disconnect from their electronic tethers, that now seem to control everything we do, and head outdoors to discover their own stories about birds and the other marvelous creatures with whom we share this planet.

The book’s conclusion encourages us all to take actions that will combat the primary threats to Earth’s avian diversity – global warming, non-sustainable development, loss of conservation land/open space, and reliance on non-renewable energy resources.

A professional wildlife biologist and wetlands scientist, with a bachelor’s of science from Florida State University and a master’s of science from Virginia Tech, and now residing in Tallahassee, Titlow has authored three natural history books, “Bird Brains: Inside the Strange Minds of Our Fine Feathered Friends” (The Lyons Press - Globe Pequot Press), “Seashells - Jewels from the Ocean” (Voyageur Press), and “Rocky Mountain National Park - Beyond Trail Ridge” (Westcliffe Publishers).

Titlow’s photographs have won awards in most major international and national natural history photo contests. He has also published more than 100 photo-essays and 5,000 photographs. Throughout his career, Titlow has delighted in sharing his love of photography and nature by presenting seminars and workshops nationwide.