The bird way : a new look at how birds talk, work, play, parent, and think / Jennifer Ackerman
Book | Penguin Press | 2020

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Details

Description
355 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [333]-345) and index.
Summary
""There is the mammal way and there is the bird way." This is one scientist's pithy distinction between mammal brains and bird brains: two ways to make a highly intelligent mind. But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries. What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They're also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own--deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also, ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play. Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of--well--birdness: A mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own. Young birds that devote themselves to feeding their siblings and others so competitive they'll stab their nestmates to death. Birds that give gifts and birds that steal, birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves, birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call--and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter. Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It's what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all"-- Provided by publisher.
Contents
When you've seen one bird -- Dawn chorus -- Cause for alarm -- Superb parroting -- The scent of sustenance -- Hot tools -- Tracing the ant's path -- Birds of play -- Clowns of the mountains -- Sex -- Wild wooing -- Brain teasers -- Free-range parenting -- The world's best birdwatchers -- A childcare cooperative of witches and water boilers.
Subject
Other Form:
Online version: Ackerman, Jennifer, The bird way New York : Penguin Press, 2020. 9780735223028 (DLC) 2020002318
ISBN
9780735223011 (hardcover)
0735223017 (hardcover)
Extras
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