Each of North America's species is given a full page description of its natural history and conservation in an informal style, including names and classification, conservation status, a color photo, and global distribution map. Each species is accompanied by a humorous illustration. The overall theme of the book, carried through each species account, is conservation. The author describes this as 'The first in a series of books describing the Earth's elements of biodiversity.' A basic premise is that each element (or species) can be used to tell a story, where each story can reveal the tricks used by birds to survive, describe real problems faced by birds, analyze conservation issues, or illustrate ecological characteristics or something else that applies to - or is unique about - the species. This book also provides a way of remembering and distinguishing each species. Scientific, English, French, and Mexican Spanish names are given.