In 2009, with two micro-compendiums under their belt, Kirsty and Jon discussed the idea of a book of bird poetry – but one in which less well known species were on equal terms with the popular ones. There are dozens of poems about herons, eagles, ravens and nightingales, not so many about the whimbrel, the ruff, the widgeon or the hobby. With a little further consideration, they realised that such a project – if it were to include illustrations as well – would need to be spread across four volumes, and so they set about putting together the first.
Paper-cut artist Lois Cordelia was recruited to give the series its distinctive covers, and over 150 artists and illustrators were commissioned over six years to complete the series. The first volume is now in its second printing.