In her comprehensive and carefully crafted book, Gisela Kaplan demonstrates how intelligent and emotional Australian birds can be. She describes complex behaviours such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels. The author brings together evidence of many such cognitive abilities, suggesting plausible reasons for their appearance in Australian birds. Bird Minds is the first attempt to shine a critical and scientific light on the cognitive behaviour of Australian land birds. In this fascinating volume, the author also presents recent changes in our understanding of the avian brain and links these to life histories and longevity. Following on from Gisela’s well-received books on the Australian Magpie and the Tawny Frogmouth, as well as two earlier titles on birds, Bird Minds contends that the unique and often difficult conditions of Australia's environment have been crucial for the evolution of unusual complexities in avian cognition and behaviour.
Through a hundred short vignettes accompanied by stunning avian portraits, Bird Brains takes a look at the antics, behaviors, and idiosyncrasies of wild birds from the viewpoint of a professional wildlife biologist and award-winning wildlife photographer. Titlow understands the often wild and wacky lives of birders--those who are always ready and willing to drop everything at a moment’s notice and "twitch off" to some exotic locations just to add another checkmark to their life lists. His engaging stories, complemented by vivid images, provide a fascinating compendium of wild bird lore perfectly suited to the 65-million-plus birders across the United States.
How and when does music become possible? Is it a matter of biology, or culture, or an interaction between the two? Revolutionizing the way we think about the core values of music and human exceptionalism, Hollis Taylor takes us on an outback road trip to meet the Australian pied butcherbird. Recognized for their distinct timbre, calls, and songs, both sexes of this songbird sing in duos, trios, and even larger choirs, transforming their flute-like songs annually. While birdsong has long inspired artists, writers, musicians, and philosophers, and enthralled listeners from all walks of life, researchers from the sciences have dominated its study. As a field musicologist, Taylor spends months each year in the Australian outback recording the songs of the pied butcherbird and chronicling their musical activities. She argues persuasively in these pages that their inventiveness in song surpasses biological necessity, compelling us to question the foundations of music and confront the remarkably entangled relationship between human and animal worlds. Equal parts nature essay, memoir, and scholarship, Is Birdsong Music? offers vivid portraits of the extreme locations where these avian choristers are found, quirky stories from the field, and an in-depth exploration of the vocalizations of the pied butcherbird.
We're all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind. Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don't always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves. This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a "self" with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no "I." Instead, each of us is a contentious "we"--a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world. In clear language, full of wit and rich in examples, Kurzban explains the roots and implications of our inconsistent minds, and why it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite.
More than eighty years have passed since Edgard Varèse’s catalytic work for percussion ensemble, Ionisation, was heard in its New York premiere. A flurry of pieces for this new medium dawned soon after, challenging the established truths and preferences of the European musical tradition while setting the stage for percussion to become one of the most significant musical advances of the twentieth century. This 'revolution', as John Cage termed it, was a quintessentially modernist movement - an exploration of previously undiscovered sounds, forms, textures, and styles. However, as percussion music has progressed and become woven into the fabric of Western musical culture, several divergent paths, comprised of various traditions and a multiplicity of aesthetic sensibilities, have since emerged for the percussionist to pursue. This edited collection highlights the progressive developments that continue to investigate uncharted musical grounds. Using historical studies, philosophical insights, analyses of performance practice, and anecdotal reflections authored by some of today's most engaged performers, composers, and scholars, this book aims to illuminate the unique destinations found in the artistic journey of the modern percussionist.
Eighteen of the world's most eminent philosophers of recent years tackle central questions of philosophy in this collection of the prestigious annual lectures given at the Royal Institute of Philosophy in London. The line-up of authors is stellar: Simon Blackburn, Ned Block, Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, Noam Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, Jurgen Habermas, Anthony Kenny, Christine Korsgaard, John McDowell, Alasdair MacIntyre, Thomas Nagel, Derek Parfit, T. M. Scanlon, John Searle, Sir Peter Strawson, Bernard Williams, and Mary Warnock. There are six pieces on questions to do with mind, perception, and action; four on reason and morality; six range over freedom, identity, religion, and politics; and the last two take a step back to look at philosophy itself and how it works. The best way to learn about philosophy is to read philosophy at its best: that is what this fascinating anthology offers.
This book explores how humans in the Renaissance lived with, attended to, and considered the minds, feelings, and sociality of other creatures. It examines how Renaissance literature and natural history display an unequal creaturely world: all creatures were categorized hierarchically. However, post-Cartesian readings of Shakespeare and other Renaissance literature have misunderstood Renaissance hierarchical creaturely relations, including human relations. Using critical animal studies work and new materialist theory, Bach argues that attending closely to creatures and objects in texts by Shakespeare and other writers exposes this unequal world and the use and abuse of creatures, including people. The book also adds significantly to animal studies by showing how central bird sociality and voices were to Renaissance human culture, with many believing that birds were superior to some humans in song, caregiving, and companionship. Bach shows how Descartes, a central figure in the transition to modern ideas about creatures, lived isolated from humans and other creatures and denied ancient knowledge about other creatures’ minds, especially bird minds. As significantly, Bach shows how and why Descartes’ ideas appealed to human grandiosity. Asking how Renaissance categorizations of creatures differ so much from modern classifications, and why those modern classifications have shaped so much animal studies work, this book offers significant new readings of Shakespeare’s and other Renaissance texts. It will contribute to a range of fields, including Renaissance literature, history, animal studies, new materialism, and the environmental humanities.
Every year on January 1, a quirky crowd of adventurers storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year -- a grand, grueling, expensive, and occasionally vicious, "extreme" 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would be a whirlwind, a winner-takes-nothing battle for a new North American birding record. In frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities that can make or break their lead, the birders race each other from Del Rio, Texas, in search of the rufous-capped warbler, to Gibsons, British Columbia, on a quest for Xantus's hummingbird, to Cape May, New Jersey, seeking the offshore great skua. Bouncing from coast to coast on their potholed road to glory, they brave broiling deserts, roiling oceans, bug-infested swamps, a charge by a disgruntled mountain lion, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. The unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a new record -- one so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested...finding and identifying an extraordinary 745 different species by official year-end count. Prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a rollicking, dazzling narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to the finish to claim the title in the greatest -- or maybe the worst -- birding contest of all time. With an engaging, unflappably wry humor, Obmascik memorializes their wild and crazy exploits and, along the way, interweaves an entertaining smattering of science about birds and their own strange behavior with a brief history of other bird-men and -women; turns out even Audubon pushed himself beyond the brink when he was chasing and painting the birds of America. A captivating tour of human and avian nature, passion and paranoia, honor and deceit, fear and loathing, The Big Year shows the lengths to which people will go to pursue their dreams, to conquer and categorize -- no matter how low the stakes. This is a lark of a read for anyone with birds on the brain -- or not.
The Bird and The Elephant is a poetic philosophical journey that starts with a chance encounter between and a bird and (that’s right, you guessed it!) an elephant. Join their journey as they step through the jungle talking their way through ten philosophical subjects.
A young brother and sister try to rehabilitate their father on their own after he slips into a drug-induced coma and then emerges suffering from brain damage, in a novel that addresses the crisis in authority and faith in American families. Original.
A revealing biography of Lady Bird Johnson with startling new insights into her marriage to Lyndon Baines Johnson and her unexpectedly strong impact on his presidency. Long obscured by her husband's shadow, Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson emerges in this first comprehensive biography as a figure of surprising influence and the centering force for LBJ, a man who suffered from extreme mood swings and desperately needed someone to help control his darker impulses. Expertly researched and written, Lady Bird draws from rare conversations with the former First Lady and from interviews with key members of Johnson's inner circle of friends, family, and advisers. With chapters such as "Motherless Child," "A Ten-Week Affair," and "LBJ's Midlife Crisis," Lady Bird sheds new light on Mrs. Johnson's childhood, on her amazing acumen as a businesswoman, and on the central role she played in her husband's life and political career. A vital link to the Kennedys during LBJ's uneasy tenure as vice president and a voice of conscience on civil rights, Lady Bird is portrayed here as a political force, strikingly different from the somewhat minor figure depicted in previous works on LBJ. Especially fascinating today, in light of the enormous attention now focused on the private lives of our leaders, are the personal details about her marriage to a man whose extramarital affairs were widely discussed. In this intimate portrait, Russell shows us the private Lady Bird -- not only a passionate conservationist but a remarkable woman who greatly influenced her husband, his administration, and the country.
In this controversial culmination of a lifelong quest, Alexander F. Skutch, a well-known ornithologist who has studied birds for more than sixty years, makes a case for "believing that birds' mental capacities have been grossly underestimated." Lacking hard scientific proofs of what birds think and feel, we are left, Skutch argues, with inferences gleaned from observation of their behavior. His intimate, six-decade study of tropical and north temperate birds and his wide survey of the literature inform this remarkable review of the psychic life of birds. Although varying widely by species, many birds have a striking ability to recognize as individuals not only other birds of their own kind (which all look alike to humans), but also familiar humans, even after a long absence. They have good memories and give indications of forethought. Only humans take more elaborate care of their offspring than most birds do, and few animals of any kind live in such closely united families as those of cooperatively breeding birds, which carefully avoid incest. The diverse play of birds suggests their capacity for enjoyment. They can be taught to count up to eight, and some are known to use tools. The tastefully adorned constructions of bower birds and the songs of many other species also point strongly to an aesthetic sense. The journeys of migrants between known breeding and wintering territories separated by thousands of miles speak of memory and navigational skills that baffle human observers. True, Skutch concludes, inferential evidence only suggests hypotheses and cannot offer scientific proof. Nonetheless, his carefully gathered and documented observations, delightfully reported, accord with the strong intuition of many bird lovers that birds are not unfeeling automata but sensitive creatures, aware of what they do. Birders and behaviorist ornithologists alike will find Skutch's work provocative and rewarding–no more easily dismissed than the apparently purposeful behavior of the birds he describes. A timely and useful contribution to the debate on animal intelligence, this book offers--with precision, force, clarity, and a wide range of examples--a challenge to the longstanding mechanistic view of nonhuman life.
'Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John. His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair poked out in every direction, just like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff, the cliff at the edge of the tallgrass prairie, the cliff that dropped a good couple hundred feet to a dried-up riverbed below. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one. The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.' Twelve-year-old Jewel never knew her brother, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Then one night, on her birthday, she finds a mysterious boy sitting in her oak tree. His name is John. And he changes everything.
This life of Victorian solo traveller Isabella Bird reveals a remarkable and determined woman, who defied contemporary expectations.
Wie ein kleiner Vogel einer Familie die Lebensfreude zurückschenkte Penguin Bloom ist schon jetzt ein absoluter Publikumsliebling. Die lustigen, einfach zauberhaften Fotos der frechen Elster und ihrer australischen Adoptivfamilie gingen über die sozialen Medien durch die ganze Welt. Was die Fans nicht kennen, ist die bewegende Geschichte hinter den großartigen Bildern. Es ist die wahre Geschichte der Familie Bloom, die nach einem tragischen Unfall beinahe zerbricht und durch den witzigen kleinen Vogel namens Penguin gerettet wird.
John Kennedy's thesis is that anthropomorphism is not necessarily dead, but is lurking under different disguises. In fact, it still affects research, but is often unintended and therefore it goes unrecognized. He provides ample documentary evidence of the way researchers unconsciously slip into anthropomorphism. The book contains nineteen essays on behavioral concepts that have seldom been identified as anthropomorphic, but in fact bear that connotation and lead to mistakes. Some of these, such as search images in birds and the learning of grammatical language by apes, have been seen as errors after a time. A greater number, such as efference copy, goal-directedness, cognition, and suffering in animals, are still current though not yet regarded as erroneous. We can hardly hope to cure ourselves altogether of thinking anthropomorphically, and it can be very useful as a metaphor. The final chapter outlines things we can do to minimize the damage anthropomorphism does to the casual analysis of animal behavior.
Jimmy Groves, civil servant, air conditioning foreman, psychopath, nice guy, mass murderer, sexual pervert . . . the descriptors could go on and on forever. A man with a grudge against the world, who acquires a tool that allows him to attempt to reach his greatest goal. This goal is to destroy the entire government of the United States of America. Jimmy will use his girlfriend, Cindy, her family, her family's business, her body, her beliefs, her wants and dreams--all to place his plan into action and to ensure its success. He plans to use what's there and available for the world to see to make the unbelievable happen. The actions of the different branches of the government, its people, its policies, its procedures, combined with the deceit, deception and distrust, allow the interweaving effect to join and entangle the lives of a federal marshal, an FBI Agent with his social climbing wife, the president, the vice president, the speaker of the house, and so many more involved in the secrets, lies, deals, payoffs, and general corruption that makes up our great form of government. Yes, the perfect melting pot for one Mr. Jimmy Groves, whose personal goal is to do what no person, government, or country ever came close to doing--total destruction of the government of the United States of America.

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