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The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History…
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The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

by Tim Birkhead

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1104109,733 (4.41)1
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Showing 4 of 4
I turned this back in at the library without finishing it. The book was longer and more detailed than I wanted right now. Not that it wasn't good, because it was. But I haven't been birding in weeks, and so reading about birds just makes me sad and anxious. In search of some escapist fiction instead, I now turn to a few of my favorite YA authors... ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
This book answered, in broad outline, many of my questions about birds and their activities. It went on to answer some I had not thought to ask. I enjoyed this history of the study of birds, from Aristotle to today, all through the lens of the work of a late seventeenth century pioneer who anticipated many of the questions that later students of birds worked to answer. The illustrations are beautiful and relevant. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This could be a desert island book for me, not least because Birkhead's writing on the subject is so engaging and the whole thing put together with such care. I learnt an awful lot reading this - although I thought female sparrows were promiscuous in order to encourage more males to help with the feeding and protection of her young, where Birkhead says no one yet has discovered what the advantage is for her.

The migration studies are fascinating, as are the imprinting ones, and all the details add up to a joyous discovery of birds and ornithologists. Dipping back into pats of it after reading it cover to cover, I realised just how densely packed this book is. I'll certainly re-read it this year.

Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  emmakendon | Jan 30, 2010 |
Interesting history of ornithology; good illustrations
  Twitcher | Jan 8, 2010 |
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"Leading ornithologist Tim Birkhead takes readers on a journey through the wonderful world of birds: conception and egg, territory and song, breeding and migration. In the process, he reveals how birders have overcome centuries-old superstitions and untested truths to achieve a richer and more accurate understanding of birds, detailing the various myths and misconceptions that were believed to be true throughout the ages. It was only in the nineteenth century that the ancient belief that swallows hibernated in the mud at the bottom of ponds finally give way to general acceptance of the facts of migration." "This book is for everyone who has ever been captivated by birds, their flight, their song, their behavior, and their astonishing beauty. With more than one hundred illustrations, many of them rarely seen before, The Wisdom of Birds is a book full of stories, knowledge, and unexpected revelations. Engaging and accessible, it is an illustrated history of birds - and all they have taught us."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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