An associate editor for Birding draws on his expertise in a range of extreme environments to offer insights into bird behavior and intelligence, from the flocking abilities of starlings to the memories of nutcrackers, while revealing the unexpected intimate coexistence between birds and humans.
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.
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.
Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim. Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy. Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.” From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.
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.
In 2015, Noah Strycker, a young American birder, became the first person to see more than half of the 10,000 bird species on planet Earth in one year. Traveling to forty-one countries on seven continents with just a small backpack, a pair of binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, Noah not only set a new world record, he also captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world.
The year he graduated from college, twenty-two-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two bird scientists and a three months' supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins. Compact, industrious, and approachable, the Ad lie Penguins who call Antarctica home visit their breeding grounds each Antarctic summer to nest and rear their young before returning to sea. Because of long-term studies, scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other creature in the world. Bird scientists like Noah are less well known. Like the intrepid early explorers of Antarctica, modern scientists drawn to the frozen continent face an utterly inhospitable landscape, one that inspires, isolates, and punishes. With wit, curiosity, and a deep knowledge of his subject, Strycker recounts the reality of life at the end of the Earth--thousand-year-old penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day existence in below freezing temperatures--and delves deep into a world of science, obsession, and birds.
Until recently, little was known about the lives of songbirds during their travels from autumn until spring. Now scientists have documented mass migrations over the Gulf of Mexico, identified the voices of migrants in the night sky, and showed how songbirds navigate using stars, polarized light, and magnetic fields. Miyoko Chu explores the intricacies underlying the ebb and flow of migration, the cycle of seasons, and the interconnectedness between distant places. Songbird Journeys pays homage to the wonder and beauty of songbirds while revealing the remarkable lives of migratory birds and the scientific quest to answer age-old questions about where songbirds go, how they get there, and what they do in the far-flung places they inhabit throughout the year.
What drives a man to travel to sixty countries and spend a fortune to count birds? And what if that man is your father? Richard Koeppel’s obsession began at age twelve, in Queens, New York, when he first spotted a Brown Thrasher, and jotted the sighting in a notebook. Several decades, one failed marriage, and two sons later, he set out to see every bird on earth, becoming a member of a subculture of competitive bird watchers worldwide all pursuing the same goal. Over twenty-five years, he collected over seven thousand species, becoming one of about ten people ever to do so. To See Every Bird on Earth explores the thrill of this chase, a crusade at the expense of all else—for the sake of making a check in a notebook. A riveting glimpse into a fascinating subculture, the book traces the love, loss, and reconnection between a father and son, and explains why birds are so critical to the human search for our place in the world. “Marvelous. I loved just about everything about this book.”—Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman “A lovingly told story . . . helps you understand what moves humans to seek escape in seemingly strange other worlds.”—Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak “Everyone has his or her addiction, and birdwatching is the drug of choice for the father of author Dan Koeppel, who writes affectionately but honestly about his father’s obsession.”—Audubon Magazine (editor’s choice) “As a glimpse into human behavior and family relationships, To See Every Bird on Earth is a rarity: a book about birding that nonbirders will find just as rewarding.”—Chicago Tribune
“A noted naturalist explores the centrality of home in the lives of humans and other animals . . . A special treat for readers of natural history” (Kirkus Reviews). Every year, many species make the journey from one place to another, following the same paths and ending up in the same places. Every year since boyhood, the acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has done the same, returning to a beloved patch of western Maine woods. Which led him to wonder: What is the biology in humans of this primal pull toward a particular place, and how is it related to animal homing? In The Homing Instinct, Heinrich explores the fascinating mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory; how scent trails are used by many creatures to locate their homes with pinpoint accuracy; and how even the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. And he reminds us that to discount our human emotions toward home is to ignore biology itself. “A graceful blend of science and memoir . . . [Heinrich’s] ability to linger and simply be there for the moment when, for instance, an elderly spider descends from a silken strand to take the insect he offers her is the heart of his appeal.” —Julie Zickefoose, The Wall Street Journal “Deep and insightful writing.” —David Gessner, The Washington Post
“Michele Raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds, and her book is a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.” —Dominick Dorsa, Curator of Birds, San Francisco Zoo Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin awakens to the bewitching music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries—a symphony that swells from the most vocal of over 350 avian throats representing over 40 species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she admits. Pandemonium Aviaries is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, including some of the largest populations of rare species in the world. And their behavior is even more fascinating than their glorious plumage or their songs. They fall in love, they mourn, they rejoice, they sacrifice, they have a sense of humor, they feel jealous, they invent, plot, cope, and sometimes they murder each other. As Raffin says, “They teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.” Their stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a way to reach the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of a disabled Victoria crowned pigeon, Wing, and her brother, Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged turaco, and an autistic young visitor. Ultimately, The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, bird by bird, and offers insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world. “Delightful . . . full of wonderful accounts of bird behavior, demonstrating caring, learning, sociability, adaptability, and a will to live. Its appeal is ageless, her descriptions riveting, and her devotion to the birds remarkable.” —Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship “A remarkable book. Reading about the birds of Pandemonium will make you laugh and cry; it will make you see more clearly the need to take care of our planet; and it will confirm that one person with a passion can make a difference.” —Jeff Corwin, nature conservationist and host, Animal Planet “The Birds of Pandemonium touched me deeply . . . This book is about reconnecting with the nature of birds, and the nature of ourselves.” —Jon Young, author of What the Robin Knows
Young naturalists meet sixteen birds in this elegant introduction to the many uses of feathers. A concise main text highlights how feathers are not just for flying. More curious readers are invited to explore informative sidebars, which underscore specific ways each bird uses its feathers for a variety of practical purposes. A scrapbook design showcases life-size feather illustrations.
“Fascinating from the first page to the last—you won’t be able to put it down.” —Southern Living A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty for readers of The Stranger in the Woods, The Lost City of Z, and The Orchid Thief. On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.
In this New York Times bestseller that will appeal to readers of H is for Hawk, a naturalist probes the forest to comprehend the secret lives of owls. Join Leigh Calvez on adventures into the world of owls: owl-watching, avian science, and the deep forest—often in the dead of night. These birds are a bit mysterious, and that’s part of what makes them so fascinating. Calvez makes the science entertaining and accessible while exploring the questions about the human-animal connection, owl obsession, habitat, owl calls, social behavior, and mythology. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Over 400 photos of representative feathers from 379 species.
Naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt, an ornithology teacher and researcher, examines the amazing talents and personalities of the most common of birds. She muses on the tarnished reputation of the starling, the sexed-up antics of male woodpeckers, and the mysterious behavior and startling population explosion of crows in her hometown. Through the eye and voice of this talented writer, birds provide a fascinating point of contact with the natural world at large.
Birds pervaded the ancient world, impressing their physical presence on the daily experience and imaginations of ordinary people and figuring prominently in literature and art. They provided a fertile source of symbols and stories in myths and folklore and were central to the ancient rituals of augury and divination. Jeremy Mynott's Birds in the Ancient World illustrates the many different roles birds played in culture: as indicators of time, weather and the seasons; as a resource for hunting, eating, medicine and farming; as domestic pets and entertainments; and as omens and intermediaries between the gods and humankind. We learn how birds were perceived - through quotations from well over a hundred classical Greek and Roman authors, all of them translated freshly into English, through nearly 100 illustrations from ancient wall-paintings, pottery and mosaics, and through selections from early scientific writings, and many anecdotes and descriptions from works of history, geography and travel. Jeremy Mynott acts as a stimulating guide to this rich and fascinating material, using birds as a prism through which to explore both the similarities and the often surprising differences between ancient conceptions of the natural world and our own. His book is an original contribution to the flourishing interest in the cultural history of birds and to our understanding of the ancient cultures in which birds played such a prominent part.
Victor Emanuel is widely considered one of America's leading birders. He has observed more than six thousand species during travels that have taken him to every continent. He founded the largest company in the world specializing in birding tours and one of the most respected ones in ecotourism. Emanuel has received some of birding's highest honors, including the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association and the Arthur A. Allen Award from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He also started the first birding camps for young people, which he considers one of his greatest achievements. In One More Warbler, Emanuel recalls a lifetime of birding adventures—from his childhood sighting of a male Cardinal that ignited his passion for birds to a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Asia to observe all eight species of cranes of that continent. He tells fascinating stories of meeting his mentors who taught him about birds, nature, and conservation, and later, his close circle of friends—Ted Parker, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Roger Tory Peterson, and others—who he frequently birded and traveled with around the world. Emanuel writes about the sighting of an Eskimo Curlew, thought to be extinct, on Galveston Island; setting an all-time national record during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count; attempting to see the Imperial Woodpecker in northwestern Mexico; and birding on the far-flung island of Attu on the Aleutian chain. Over the years, Emanuel became a dedicated mentor himself, teaching hundreds of young people the joys and enrichment of birding. "Birds changed my life," says Emanuel, and his stories make clear how a deep connection to the natural world can change everyone's life.
Originally published: London: Faber & Faber Ltd, 2015.
Early in 2013 Neil Hayward was at a crossroads. He didn't want to open a bakery or whatever else executives do when they quit a lucrative but unfulfilling job. He didn't want to think about his failed relationship with "the one†? or his potential for ruining a new relationship with "the next one.†? And he almost certainly didn't want to think about turning forty. And so instead he went birding. Birding was a lifelong passion. It was only among the birds that Neil found a calm that had eluded him in the confusing world of humans. But this time he also found competition. His growing list of species reluctantly catapulted him into a Big Year--a race to find the most birds in one year. His peregrinations across twenty-eight states and six provinces in search of exotic species took him to a hoarfrost-covered forest in Massachusetts to find a Fieldfare; to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to see a rare Nutting's Flycatcher; and to Vancouver for the Red-flanked Bluetail. Neil's Big Year was as unplanned as it was accidental: It was the perfect distraction to life. Neil shocked the birding world by finding 749 species of bird and breaking the long-standing Big Year record. He also surprised himself: During his time among the hummingbirds, tanagers, and boobies, he found a renewed sense of confidence and hope about the world and his place in it.

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