The Genius of Birds

The Genius of Birds Author Jennifer Ackerman
ISBN-10 9781101980842
Year 2016-04-12
Pages 352
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds. As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research—the distant laboratories of Barbados and New Caledonia, the great tit communities of the United Kingdom and the bowerbird habitats of Australia, the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia and the western states—Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent. Consider, as Ackerman does, the Clark’s nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember several months later where it put them, or the mockingbirds and thrashers, species that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours. But beyond highlighting how birds use their unique genius in technical ways, Ackerman points out the impressive social smarts of birds. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They give gifts. They kiss to console one another. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve. This elegant scientific investigation and travelogue weaves personal anecdotes with fascinating science. Ackerman delivers an extraordinary story that will both give readers a new appreciation for the exceptional talents of birds and let them discover what birds can reveal about our changing world. Richly informative and beautifully written, The Genius of Birds celebrates the triumphs of these surprising and fiercely intelligent creatures. From the Hardcover edition.

The Genius of Birds

The Genius of Birds Author Jennifer Ackerman
ISBN-10 9781472114372
Year 2016-04-21
Pages 416
Language en
Publisher Hachette UK
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Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds and how it came about. As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research - the distant laboratories of Barbados and New Caledonia, the great tit communities of the United Kingdom and the bowerbird habitats of Australia, the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia and the western states - Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are revolutionizing our view of what it means to be intelligent. Consider, as Ackerman does, the Clark's nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember where it put them several months later; the mockingbirds and thrashers, species that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours; the well-known pigeon, which knows where it's going, even thousands of miles from familiar territory; and the New Caledonian crow, an impressive bird that makes its own tools. But beyond highlighting how birds use their unique genius in technical ways, Ackerman points out the impressive social smarts of birds. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They display a strong sense of fairness. They give gifts. They play keep-away and tug-of-war. They tease. They share. They cultivate social networks. They vie for status. They kiss to console one another. They teach their young. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve. This elegant scientific investigation and travelogue weaves personal anecdotes with fascinating science. Ackerman delivers an extraordinary story that will both give readers a new appreciation for the exceptional talents of birds and let them discover what birds can reveal about our changing world.

The Genius of Birds

The Genius of Birds Author Jennifer Ackerman
ISBN-10 9781925307146
Year 2016-05-16
Pages 352
Language en
Publisher Scribe Publications
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For decades, people have written off birds as largely witless, driven by instinct and capable of only the simplest mental processes. But this just isn't true. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence and social smarts. They make complex navigational decisions, sing in regional accents, and use tools. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They kiss to console one another. They share. They give gifts. They teach. They blackmail their parents. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve ... And they do it all with brains so tiny each would fit inside a walnut. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds. As she travels around the world, bringing together the latest science from lab and field, she reveals the intelligent bird behaviour that we can see in our own backyards, at birdfeeders, in parks, in city streets, and in country skies, if only we care to look. And in doing so, she reveals what a bird's intelligence may have to say about our own. Elegantly blending science and travelogue, Ackerman's extraordinary story provides a new appreciation for the talents of birds and what birds can reveal about our changing world. Incredibly informative and beautifully written, The Genius of Birds richly celebrates the triumphs of these surprising creatures.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are Author Frans de Waal
ISBN-10 9780393246193
Year 2016-04-25
Pages 320
Language en
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
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A New York Times Bestseller From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal, a groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic. What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.

The Wisdom of Big Bird and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch

The Wisdom of Big Bird  and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch Author Caroll Spinney
ISBN-10 9780307417541
Year 2007-12-18
Pages 176
Language en
Publisher Villard
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An inspiring message for all ages: Find your inner bird. If you’re looking for wisdom and joy in your life, go straight to Sesame Street and heed the words of its most beloved and profound resident, Caroll Spinney, who has spent the past thirty-four years in a bird costume (and a trash can) as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Three decades inside a giant puppet have taught Spinney a valuable and surprising lesson: Being a bird can make you a better person. In The Wisdom of Big Bird, the living legend of Sesame Street describes how we can all find our inner bird (or grouch). Each chapter illustrates a piece of useful wisdom Spinney has gleaned from a career in feathers. The lessons Big Bird teaches children every day on Sesame Street are the same ones that have brought Spinney success and satisfaction in his own life. Warm, witty, and affirming, Caroll Spinney’s memoir proves that being a bird can make you a better and happier person. “Every day on Sesame Street, we strive to give our innocent young audience the basis of a lifelong education. It is no accident that spending the past thirty-four years in the Bird suit teaching these lessons to others has taught me a few things, too.”—from The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch) From the Hardcover edition.

The Thing with Feathers

The Thing with Feathers Author Noah Strycker
ISBN-10 9780698152731
Year 2014-03-20
Pages 304
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world—and deep connection with humanity. Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As we learn more about the secrets of bird life, we are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, relationships, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself. The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatrosses, and other mysteries—revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature. Drawing deep from personal experience, cutting-edge science, and colorful history, Noah Strycker spins captivating stories about the birds in our midst and shares the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans. With humor, style, and grace, he shows how our view of the world is often, and remarkably, through the experience of birds. You’ve never read a book about birds like this one.

Birds Art Life

Birds Art Life Author Kyo Maclear
ISBN-10 9781501154201
Year 2017-01-03
Pages 240
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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"A writer's search for inspiration, beauty, and solace leads her to birds in this ... meditation on creativity and life"--

What the Robin Knows

What the Robin Knows Author Jon Young
ISBN-10 9780547451251
Year 2012
Pages 241
Language en
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Shares strategies for expanding one's awareness of bird communication and maintaining a non-threatening presence in natural environments, explaining the sounds and behaviors that reflect various bird warnings, feelings and messages. 35,000 first printing.

Baby Birds

Baby Birds Author Julie Zickefoose
ISBN-10 9780544207776
Year 2016-04-12
Pages 352
Language en
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in bird nests, or what happens after a fledgling leaves the nest, come along on Julie’s sensitive exploration of often-uncharted ornithological ground. This beautiful book is as much an art book as it is a natural history, something readers have come to expect from Julie Zickefoose. More than 400 watercolor paintings show the breathtakingly swift development of seventeen different species of wild birds. Sixteen of those species nest on Julie's wildlife sanctuary, so she knows the birds intimately, and writes about them with authority. To create the bulk of this extraordinary work, Julie would borrow a wild nestling, draw it, then return it to its nest every day until it fledged. Some were orphans she raised by hand, giving the ultimate insider’s glimpse into their lives. In sparkling prose, Julie shares a lifetime of insight about bird breeding biology, growth, and cognition. As an artist and wildlife rehabilitator, Julie possesses a unique skill set that includes sketching and painting rapidly from life as well as handling delicate hatchlings. She is uniquely positioned to create such an opus, and in fact, nothing like it has ever been attempted. Julie has many fans, and she will gain many more with this unparalleled work.

The Secret Life of Birds

The Secret Life of Birds Author Colin Tudge
ISBN-10 9780141962108
Year 2009-08-06
Pages 496
Language en
Publisher Penguin UK
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All animals are equal - but some, as George Orwell said, are more equal than others, and birds, most people would surely agree, are in the very first rank. They can do almost everything that mammals can do - and more. By mastering flight, they have a way of living that encompasses the whole world. In The Secret Life of Birds, Colin Tudge explores the life of birds, all around the globe. From the secrets of migration to their complicated family lives, their differing habitats and survival techniques to the secrets of flight, this is a fascinating account of how birds live, why they matter, and whether they really are dinosaurs. Colin Tudge shows how birds - who are like us in the general sense but very different in the particulars - live and think. For birds have minds: they feel, they are aware, they work things out. And so, by considering the birds, asking how and why it is possible for them to be so different, we gain insight into ourselves. Birds are beautiful, lively, intriguing - and all around us. This rich and endlessly absorbing book opens up their lives to everyone.

The Gravity of Birds

The Gravity of Birds Author Tracy Guzeman
ISBN-10 9781451689785
Year 2013-08-06
Pages 304
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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A debut novel already destined to be a book club favorite. “With its deft interweaving of psychological complexity and riveting narrative momentum, with its gorgeous prose and poetic justice, The Gravity of Birds is about sibling rivalry, tragedies, and resurrections. And it’s irresistibly exquisite” (San Francisco Chronicle). Forty-four years after the brilliant young painter, Thomas Bayber, first meets Alice and Natalie Kessler, Bayber unveils a never-before-seen work, Kessler Sisters—a provocative painting depicting the young Thomas, Alice, and Natalie. Bayber asks Dennis Finch, an art history professor, and Stephen Jameson, an eccentric young art authenticator, to sell the painting. But their task becomes more complicated when the artist requires that they first locate Alice and Natalie, who seem to have disappeared. Told in alternating chapters that weave revelations about the sisters’ past with clues Finch and Jameson discover in the present, this story sets three characters on a collision course with their histories, showing how families tear themselves apart and then try to bind themselves together again, not always creating the same fabric. The Gravity of Birds “combines the drama of warring sisters, the mystery of a missing painting, and the sorrow of lost love into a haunting elegy that will…leave you breathless” (Tiffany Baker, author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County).

The Wonder of Birds

The Wonder of Birds Author Jim Robbins
ISBN-10 9780679645672
Year 2017-05-30
Pages 352
Language en
Publisher Spiegel & Grau
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A fascinating investigation into the miraculous world of birds and the powerful—and surprising—ways they enrich our lives and sustain the planet Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with them. Birds, Jim Robbins posits, are our most vital connection to nature. They compel us to look to the skies, both literally and metaphorically; draw us out into nature to seek their beauty; and let us experience vicariously what it is like to be weightless. Birds have helped us in so many of our human endeavors: learning to fly, providing clothing and food, and helping us better understand the human brain and body. And they even have much to teach us about being human in the natural world. This book illuminates qualities unique to birds that demonstrate just how invaluable they are to humankind—both ecologically and spiritually. The wings of turkey buzzards influenced the Wright brothers’ flight design; the chickadee’s song is considered by scientists to be the most sophisticated language in the animal world and a “window into the evolution of our own language and our society”; and the quietly powerful presence of eagles in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Anacostia, in Washington, D.C., proved to be an effective method for rehabilitating the troubled young people placed in charge of their care. Exploring both cutting-edge scientific research and our oldest cultural beliefs, Robbins moves these astonishing creatures from the background of our lives to the foreground, from the quotidian to the miraculous, showing us that we must fight to save imperiled bird populations and the places they live, for the sake of both the planet and humankind. Praise for The Wonder of Birds “In this deeply felt and well-supported argument for avians’ value to humankind, science writer Robbins hits the full trifecta for engrossing and satisfying nature writing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Using enchanting stories and rich historical references, Jim Robbins explores the role of birds on the evolution of human self-awareness.”—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. “It’s one for the birds—what a wonderful book! It will give you wings.”—Rita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle “The Wonder of Birds provides a great and well-timed gift: a portrait of the quiet miracles around us on each day of our ordinary lives.”—Michael Punke, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant “Jim Robbins writes masterfully, with lucid prose and deep insight into the human psyche and natural world. In The Wonder of Birds he illuminates the realm of this extraordinary creature that is both a miracle of physiology and a poetic manifestation of our own transcendence.”—Peter Stark, author of Astoria “A peregrine falcon and a loggerhead shrike, my flying friends, came into the garden the day The Wonder of Birds arrived. I’m surprised they didn’t fly away with it—this exciting book of nature.”—Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of The Global Forest “Jim Robbins’s insight has brought even more perspective into a world I have been discovering most of my life and career with birds.”—Steve Malowski, aviculturist, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Beaks Bones and Bird Songs

Beaks  Bones and Bird Songs Author Roger Lederer
ISBN-10 9781604697520
Year 2016-06-22
Pages 288
Language en
Publisher Timber Press
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“Reveals the strange and wondrous adaptations birds rely on to get by.” —National Audubon Society When we see a bird flying from branch to branch happily chirping, it is easy to imagine they lead a simple life of freedom, flight, and feathers. What we don’t see is the arduous, life-threatening challenges they face at every moment. Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs guides the reader through the myriad, and often almost miraculous, things that birds do every day to merely stay alive. Like the goldfinch, which manages extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter. Or urban birds, which navigate traffic through a keen understanding of posted speed limits. In engaging and accessible prose, Roger Lederer shares how and why birds use their sensory abilities to see ultraviolet, find food without seeing it, fly thousands of miles without stopping, change their songs in noisy cities, navigate by smell, and much more.

One Wild Bird at a Time

One Wild Bird at a Time Author Bernd Heinrich
ISBN-10 9780544386402
Year 2016-04-12
Pages 224
Language en
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The acclaimed scientist's encounters with individual wild birds, yielding “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insights and discoveries In his modern classics One Man’s Owl and Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich has written memorably about his relationships with wild ravens and a great horned owl. In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. There are countless books on bird behavior, but Heinrich argues that some of the most amazing bird behaviors fall below the radar of what most birds do in aggregate. Heinrich’s “passionate observations [that] superbly mix memoir and science” (New York Times Book Review) lead to fascinating questions — and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher, while bringing food to the young in their nest, is attacked by the other flycatcher nearby. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich’s cabin deliver the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings, and to make a related discovery about nest-cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground, and lands on the grass below. It can’t fly. What will happen next? Heinrich “looks closely, with his trademark ‘hands-and-knees science’ at its most engaging, [delivering] what can only be called psychological marvels of knowing” (Boston Globe). An eminent biologist shares the joys of bird-watching and how observing the anomalous behaviors of individual birds has guided his research. Heinrich (Emeritus, Biology/Univ. of Vermont; The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration, 2014, etc.) smoothly describes how studying the daily lives of birds in their natural environments allows him to experience their world vicariously. Now retired and living in a cabin in the Maine woods, he devotes himself to closely observing “his avian neighbors, visitors, and vagrants, and keep[ing] daily records throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter.” Every year, he welcomes a pair of broad-wing hawks who feast at a vernal pond populated by frogs, spring peepers, and salamanders while refurbishing their old nest. Unusually, they provide a fern cover on the nest, which they update on a daily basis after their chicks hatch. Heinrich also includes anecdotes from an earlier time when he still lived in Vermont. Awakened one morning by the loud drumming of a male woodpecker on a nearby apple tree, the author wondered if perhaps he was seeking to attract a female. Surprisingly, when a female was drawn to the sound, he stopped drumming and flew away. The same behavior was repeated the following day. The author’s observations led him to conclude that the bird's drumming was not part of a mating ritual but rather a noisy advertisement of his nest-building skills. Vireos nesting near his cabin allowed him to observe how they deliberately reduced the number of eggs they were hatching to accommodate the reduced food supply after an unseasonal freeze. Heinrich explains that bird-watching has been an important part of his life since he was a boy on his family's farm. When he was 6, they moved from Germany to Maine. Finding familiar birds nesting “immediately made this place our home,” he writes. An engaging memoir of the opportunities for doing scientific research without leaving one's own backyard. (Kirkus)

A Sky Full of Birds

A Sky Full of Birds Author Matt Merritt
ISBN-10 9781473503328
Year 2016-04-07
Pages 256
Language en
Publisher Random House
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'Prose from a poet and a personal take on the spectacles' Chris Packham, author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar Britain is a nation of bird-lovers. However, few of us fully appreciate the sheer scale, variety and drama of our avian life. From city-centre hunters to vast flocks straight out of the Arctic wilderness, much-loved dawn songsters to the exotic invaders of supermarket car parks, a host of remarkable wildlife spectacles are waiting to be discovered right outside our front doors. In A Sky Full of Birds, poet and nature writer Matt Merritt shares his passion for birdwatching by taking us to some of the great avian gatherings that occur around the British isles – from ravens in Anglesey and raptors on the Wirral, to Kent nightingales and Scottish capercallies. By turns lyrical, informative and entertaining, he shows how natural miracles can be found all around us, if only we know where to look for them.