The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life Hardcover – May 25 2010
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“This is an excellent overview of wild bird behavior, social relationships, courtship, and breeding, which are surprisingly structured and complex. Well researched, this is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries, natural history and psychology collections, and readers with more than a superficial attraction to nature.” ―Library Journal
“Be warned: reading The Private Lives of Birds is likely to make you chuck in your present job to become a bird biologist. Who would have known that our beloved wild birds would turn out to be liars, cheats, and bullies? In elegant and lucid prose, Stutchbury explains why birds act the way they do.” ―Glen Chilton, author of The Curse of the Labrador Duck
“The bird detective delivers in many ways, packaging facts and insights, science and adventure with a folksy delivery that never undermines the seriousness of her research.” ―The Olympian (Olympia, WA)
“Stutchbury's new, informal work on bird behavior just begs to be read under a backyard tree. The book could serve as beach reading too; marine birds such as the albatross and rhinoceros auklet put in appearances.” ―Susan Milius, Science News
“The Private Lives of Birds is a treasure trove of fascinating insights into bird behavior…. An interesting introduction into bird biology.” ―GrrlScientist, The Birdbooker Report
“Stutchbury offers a fine step-up for readers looking to move beyond folksy bird-watching memoirs and into the lives of the birds themselves.” ―Booklist
“With her trademark clarity and humor, Bridget Stutchbury--‘bird detective' extraordinaire--reveals avian lives of uncommon drama, rife with adultery, divorce, sibling rivalry, lying, social climbing and life-or-death marathons--a peek into a world at once familiar and wonderfully different from our own.” ―Scott Weidensaul, author of Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding
“Bridget Stutchbury dodges killer bees, wakes before dawn to follow birds through the forest, and peers through a ‘riparia-scope' at hundreds of eggs. Don't miss her stories of personal adventure and her far-reaching scientific synthesis explaining the amazing behaviors of birds and what they mean for the birds' survival and future.” ―Miyoko Chu, author of Songbird Journeys
“A treasure-house of insights into the lives of birds and the glorious evolutionary energy that powers their displays and courtship--and their not infrequent infidelities.” ―Graeme Gibson, author of The Bedside Book of Birds
“It's not easy to produce a specialized book that is simultaneously erudite and engrossing, but Stutchbury pulls it off for the most part . . . Stutchbury's book is packed with information, both salacious and sage.” ―Quill & Quire (starred review) (review of Canadian edition, The Bird Detective)
About the Author
Bridget Stutchbury completed her Ph.D. at Yale, was a fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institute, and is now professor of biology at York University. She is affiliated with more than a dozen organizations that seek to preserve bird habitats. Her book, The Silence of the Songbirds, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Birds have been highly regarded by man. From earliest times, folks have gazed up at the sky to watch these majestic creatures in flight, admiring their ability to float aloft effortlessly. This observation must be what drives people like Bridget Stutchbury to study birds. She stalks them, living among them, studying them in surprisingly fine detail. She observes their mating habits, parenting skills, social behavior, tool usage and nest building techniques.
She also listens to birds with a sympathetic ear for their well being, taking note that humans continue to challenge them with increasing pressure every year. The author demonstrates a strong need to share her love of birds by having composed her wonderful book, The Secret Lives of Birds.
To document her book accurately, Stutchbury was persistent. Considering birds' range and variations in size, she relied upon extensive knowledge and enduring patience. The book focuses on eight specific attributes: mating, selecting mates, parenting, nest-building, territory defense, bird cities, migration, adaptation strategy. In her epilogue she explains that birds have adapted to human encroachment by changing their habits.
Loaded with crystal clear HD photography and exquisitely crafted in a rich, articulate style, she delivers a book readers easily learn from.
I did come away from this book with some very interesting information, some of which I suspected or deduced from my own experience with both my Lovebirds and birds in the wild. As an expert in animal behavior of another species, I understand how very difficult it is to put into words the deep concepts behind certain animal behaviors. However, I found this text to be heavily anthropocentric in ways that I think could have been avoided. Over all, I hoped to gain a great deal more knowledge from this book than I actually did.
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