Bird Talk delves into new scientific developments to reveal the complexities of how birds make, learn, and use sound in a bewildering array of songs and calls. The beauty of birdsong is one of the joys of nature, and this book reveals how songs are learnt and performed, why the quality of a male's repertoire can affect his mating success, and how birds use song-matching and countersinging in territorial disputes.
Bird Talk illustrates how birds communicate through visual signals too, from the dazzling feathers of a Peacock to the jumping displays a Jackson's Widowbird performs to show off his long tail. Plumage features such as the red bill shield of a Pukeko can indicate dominance, and how aggressive wing-waving is used to ward off impostors.
Bird Talk will help you understand how birds communicate in a range of situations, whether in harmony or in conflict, providing essential new insight into avian intelligence.
Barbara Ballentine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Western Carolina University. She has published articles on song production and mate choice.
Jeremy Hyman is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Western Carolina University, where he teaches ornithology and animal behaviour. He has published numerous articles on bird behaviour and is the author of the children's book Bird Brains.
Consultant Editor Mike Webster is the Robert G. Engel Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University and Director of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.