Friday, 25 March 2022

Aren't Birds Brilliant! Book Review

 As most readers of this blog will be aware, I love birds! Here are two books I've read recently about the world of birds. 

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird

Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead 

This is a fascinating investigation into what it's like being a bird, focussing on the senses. A chapter is devoted to each of: Sight; Hearing; Touch; Taste; Smell; Magnetic Sense and Emotions. Each chapter gives an overview of historical and current research into bird biology, highlighting important insights into birds lives, including mating, nesting, eating, singing and navigating a migration route. Many different bird species are included but the kiwi and the guillemot feature more than any other species, given the author's specific interest in these species.

Birkhead does an excellent job of writing about sometimes complex science in an accessible way, making this a great read for anyone who's interested in birds. 

Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead published (2012) by Bloomsbury.  

There's an interview with Tim Birkhead about his new book 'Birds and Us' on the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) blog. You can read it here.

 The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

 The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman 

 This is an ideal follow up to Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead.

Ackerman offers case studies and observations from scientific experiments to give insight into various aspects of bird intelligence, including singing, tool use (or equivalent), navigation (during migration), aesthetic sense (think the bowers of bower birds) and adaptability.

It's a fascinating book that reveals quite a lot about birds that you may never have thought of before. How do birds learn their songs? How have some birds (including species of crows) learned to use tools? How exactly do birds navigate their way across long migration routes?

The book also investigates the detrimental effects that humans are having on birds, including the effects of habitat destruction and climate change. Not only are we clearly reducing the populations of certain species, but there is evidence that climate change may be making some birds less intelligent (evidence is given for this effect in chickadees living at different altitudes). 

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman published (2016) by Littlebrown.

Taken together, these books offer an excellent insight into how birds work.

1 comment:

Rambling Woods said...

I will see if the library has these books...