Humans form cities from concrete, metal and glass, designing structures and infrastructure primarily to serve a single bipedal species. Walking down a familiar city street, it is easy to overlook squirrels climbing in trees, weeds growing up through cracks in the concrete, and pigeons pecking along the sidewalk. Those creatures that do manage to live all around us, thriving alongside humans, are rarely celebrated for their ingenuity. In many cases, however, suchsynanthropes (from the Greek syn [“together with”] + anthro [“man”]) tell fascinating stories of urban fortitude.
Author and amateur naturalistNathanael Johnson began digging into some of these everyday urban species, leading him to write Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness. The book uncovers weeds that are tastier than you imagined and small mammals smarter than you suspected. The author researched various plants and animals, including that most infamous species of urban bird so many people love to hate, sometimes referred to as a “flying rat.”
One for the book list. More on 99% here.