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Joanna Burger, a distinguished professor of Biology at Rutgers, has authored two academic books on bird behavior, and has written five books for lay readers, two of which she co-authored with her husband, Muchal Gochfeld, a professor of environmental and community medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. They live in Somerset, New Jersey.
Tiko, a 35-year-old orphaned, Red Lored Amazon parrot, and Burger, a renowned ornithologist and Rutgers University biology professor, have lived together for 15 years. Burger describes their relationship with the charm and warmth of a true animal lover who delights in her companion animal's antics and intelligence. Her special gift to her readers, though, is the scientific acumen with which she analyzes and interprets Tiko's behavior. By correlating it to behaviors found in the wild, Burger, the author of several books on avian behavior and natural history (e.g., A Naturalist Along the Jersey Shore), sheds light on the actions that frustrate, frighten, anger, or puzzle pet bird owners. Interwoven throughout the story are Burger's observations, gleaned from months spent in the field recording bird behavior, the horrific practices of bird trappers, and her growing sense of the delicate balance of all life. Written with reverence for life and tenderness toward companion animals, this is a book to be cherished. Animal lovers will enjoy it, and if your library subscribes to Bird Fancy, it is essential. The writing is accessible to the public library reader, while the author's credentials and documentation make it a suitable purchase for academic libraries. Cleo Pappas, Lisle Lib. Dist., IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"[A] brilliantly observed memoir . . . an unusually thoughtful book . . . Bottom line: A literary coo." --People "[Burger] sweeps readers into the fascinating world of avian biology, behavior, ecology and conservation." --Newsday "One of the warmest, funniest and weirdest memoirs of the year . . . This book is a must-have for bird-lovers and a fun read for everyone else."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
HA woman and her parrot. It may not sound like much, but Burger manages to make the story of her relationship with her pet, Tiko, into one of the warmest, funniest and weirdest memoirs of the year. Burger (Twenty-Five Nature Spectacles in New Jersey, with Michael Gochfeld), a renowned ornithologist and professor of biology at Rutgers University, has lived for 15 years with Tiko, who now dominates almost every aspect of her life. He eats dinner off her plate. He takes showers with her. He wakes her every morning and trims her nails. The two have grown so close that they've even become (in Tiko's mind, at least) committed lovers. Every spring, Tiko shamelessly begins his courtship ritual: shredding newspaper for a nest, hoarding food and obsessively preening and kissing Burger. During these periods, Tiko is jealous in the extreme; if Burger shows her husband, Mike, any affection, Tiko will fly at him in a rage, nipping at his ears, even drawing blood. (By way of apology, Tiko will later join Mike in a whistling duet, often of baroque harpsichord music.) Burger anthropomorphizes Tiko: he can be happy, sad, angry, disappointed, bored. But this isn't mere pet-owner whimsy; Burger backs up every such characterization with hard science and decades of bird study in jungles, marshes and forests all over the world. Smart, precocious, fun-loving (he slides down the stair banister for kicks), Tiko provides ample evidence why parrots are the third most popular pets in the country (after cats and dogs). This book is a must-have for bird-lovers and a fun read for everyone else. (May) Forecast: This lively, intelligent book seems destined for longevity. Advertising in Bird Talk magazine should help introduce it to bird lovers, while a national publicity campaign should garner broader exposure. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.