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Bird Sense


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A hugely engaging book about birds, their senses and behaviour that is informed by an attractive blend of personal experience, entertaining stories and cutting-edge science.

About the Author

Tim Birkhead is a professor at the University of Sheffield where he teaches animal behaviour and the history of science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and his research has taken him all over the world in the quest to understand the lives of birds. He has written for the Independent, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife. Among his other books are Promiscuity, Great Auk Islands, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Birds which won the McColvin medal, The Red Canary which won the Consul Cremer Prize and The Wisdom of Birds. He is married with three children and lives in Sheffield.


An absolutely absorbing book, on almost every page there is an astonishing observation or revelation -- Peter Parker * Daily Telegraph *
An eye-opening guide to all matters ornithological ... His tour of the frontiers of our understanding of birds is stuffed with mind-boggling facts and insights. Thoroughly engaging, it also gives us a thrilling sense of the vast, unmapped territories that lie beyond, waiting to be discovered -- Christopher Hart * Sunday Times *
A joy to read, simultaneously fascinating and hilarious ... a book that is thoughtful, thoroughly researched and engagingly written throughout -- Jamie Condliffe * New Scientist *
An inspired bringing together of all the latest scientific research on avian sight, sound, touch and taste as well as smell, along with some senses which are beyond human capabilities altogether ... if you pick up Bird Sense, however wise you think you are, you'll learn something new -- Michael McCarthy * Independent *
This fascinating book has much to teach us, not just about what it means to be a bird, but about the rewards and responsibilities of our coexistence with these wonderful creatures -- David Wheatley * Guardian *
Superb ... like having the top of your own head lifted off and its contents deliciously stirred: no one after reading this book could think it was possible to know too much, no one could think science removes us from feeling ... his richly engaging book so deepens our understanding of what is familiar that we are returned to the birds we know around us and the wider world with a revivified sense of how life comes and goes -- Tim Dee * Observer *
Remarkable in its celebration of birds * New York Times *

This book helps readers understand what it's like to be something else-in this case, a bird. Ornithologist Birkhead (animal behavior & history of science, Univ. of Sheffield, UK; The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology) writes about avian senses, with chapters on seeing, hearing, touch, taste, smell, magnetic sense, and emotions. He illustrates the history of scientific thought regarding birds' senses. Birkhead argues that it is difficult for humans to imagine themselves as birds because birds see a different ultraviolet spectrum, hear at higher frequencies, and somehow sense the earth's magnetic field. Moving among field locations (e.g., New Zealand, Florida, Atlantic islands), he illustrates the abilities of birds and their survival techniques, and, in the postscript, describes how all their senses function together. VERDICT Birkhead provides fascinating information for birders and naturalists, but his story often lacks smooth transitions between topics. His jargon may be unfamiliar to nonbirders, and because the author is British some terminology is different from American usage. Still, birders, naturalists, animal scientists, and students will be interested.-Sally Bickley, Del Mar Coll. Lib., Corpus Christi, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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