286 pages, b/w illustrations
Stray Feathers showcases some of the remarkable adaptations of Australian birds. A brief introduction describes how evolution shapes form and function, followed by a series of vignettes illustrating the wondrous variety of forms and functions shaped by evolution. For example, did you know that barn owls can hunt in absolute darkness and that cuckoos commence incubation before their egg is laid?
Sections include anatomy and physiology; the senses; giving voice; tongues talking; plumage; getting around; finding and handling food; optimising foraging and feeding; reducing competition; using "tools"; communicating; quality vs quantity; courtship; nests; parental care; chicks; and living together.
Stray Feathers is superbly illustrated with black and white drawings of a range of birds, making it a worthy addition to Stray Feathersshelves of bird lovers everywhere.
Anatomy and physiology
Finding and handling food
Optimising foraging and feeding
Quality vs quantity
Chicks: behaving badly; behaving well
Living together: same species
Living together: different species
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Penny Olsen AM is a research scientist and experienced author and editor, with a fascination for birds. She has written 14 books, four of which have won Whitley Awards, and over 200 papers in refereed journals. An Associate Professor at the Australian National University, she sits on various conservation and natural resource management committees and hopes to keep writing about Australia's wonderful wildlife until she drops off the perch.
Leo Joseph is the Director of the Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO, Canberra. He has been involved in ornithology as an amateur and research scientist for some 35 years and has published widely in national and international scientific journals. From 1997-2005, he was the Research Curator in the Department of Ornithology, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Passionate about the evolution of Australian birds, he sees this book as an opportunity to acquaint a broad audience with the spectacular results of evolution in Australian birds.