In Incredible Journeys, award-winning author David Barrie takes us on a tour of the cutting-edge science of animal navigation, where breakthroughs are allowing scientists to unravel, for the first time, how animals as various as butterflies, birds, crustaceans, fish, reptiles and even people find their way.
Weaving interviews with leading experts on animal behaviour with the groundbreaking discoveries of Nobel-Prize winning neuroscientists, Barrie shines a light on the astounding skills of animals of every stripe. Dung beetles that steer by the light of the Milky Way. Ants and bees that navigate using patterns of light invisible to humans. Sea turtles, spiny lobsters and moths that find their way using the Earth's magnetic field. Salmon that return to their birthplace by following their noses. Baleen whales that swim thousands of miles while holding a rock-steady course and birds that can locate their nests on a tiny island after crisscrossing an entire ocean. There's a stunning diversity of animal navigators out there, often using senses and skills we humans don't have access to ourselves. Incredible Journeys reveals the wonders of these animals in a whole new light.
David Barrie grew up on the south coast of England where he fell in love with sailing and – in particular – the art of navigation. At the age of 19 David crossed the Atlantic in the 35-foot yacht 'Saecwen' and the following year competed in the 2000-mile Observer Two-Handed Round Britain Race in Shamaal II – a Contessa 26, one of the smallest entries. In 1981 he sailed his own Contessa 32 from Lymington to the Azores and back, and in 1984 took part as navigator in the China Sea Race from Hong Kong to Manila. In recent years he has cruised in the Hebrides, Norway, the Caribbean and British Columbia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and a member of the Royal Cruising Club. David studied Experimental Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University. His working life has been varied: deck hand on a ferry, diplomat, intelligence analyst, arts adminstrator and campaigner. The great great nephew of the playwright J.M. Barrie, he is married with two daughters and lives in London.
"David Barrie, who himself has sailed the oceans using a sextant, is passionate about navigation and describes in delightful detail the myriad ways in which animals get around [...] eye-opening book."
– Frans de Waal, The New York Times Book Review
"In this often immensely entertaining book David Barrie explores the latest scientific research [...] What is engrossing about Barrie's book is not just the remarkable behaviour of the individual animals [...] but the often painstaking detective work undertaken by the scientists seeking to discover how they operate [...] [Barrie] is an admirably reliable and assiduous guide to what we do and don't yet know."
– Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times
"Barrie has a good eye for colourful detail [...] Rather than merely telling entertaining stories about cute creatures, he wants us to take responsibility for our own role in throwing the animal world off course."
– Mail on Sunday
"Incredible Journeys is a wonderfully refreshing read. The book flawlessly intertwines personal stories from Barrie's past with easily digestible accounts of the academic progress in the field of animal navigation, as well as remarkable tales of human navigation [...] Barrie writes for a general audience, breaking down the complex field of research that is animal navigation and exploring it in a way that engages the reader no matter how limited their background [...] After reading this book you won't be able to look at a bee without respecting their navigational talents."
– Navigation News Magazine
"Barrie (Sextant), a member of the Royal Institute of Navigation, masterfully conveys new discoveries about animal navigation in this impressive popular science work [...] Each chapter contains a surprise even for those familiar with the topic, such as the theory that homing pigeons make use of smell to navigate. Barrie cleverly stokes readers' curiosity about the subject with short sections at the end of each chapter describing even more remarkable, still unexplained feats [...] This is a must-read for anyone fascinated with the wonders of nature."
– Publishers Weekly
"Barrie's passion makes him an engaging guide, flitting from fact to anecdote like a butterfly hunting for nectar."
– New Scientist
"This book is packed with extraordinary tales of the navigational abilities of the animal world, and the importance of understanding them [...] crammed with fascinating and often baffling feats of animal navigation."
– Sydney Morning Herald
"A wonderful combination of science and travel writing that deserves to win awards – David Barrie's book on animal migration is popular science writing at its very best."
– Butterfly, the magazine of Butterfly Conservation