Books  Ornithology  Birdwatching 

One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives

Biography / Memoir

By: Bernd Heinrich(Author)

218 pages, 8 plates with colour illustrations; b/w illustrations

Houghton Mifflin

Hardback | May 2016 | #226773 | ISBN-13: 9780544387638
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $33/€28 approx

About this book

In his modern classics One Man's Owl and Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich has written memorably about his relationships with wild ravens and a great horned owl.

In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. There are countless books on bird behavior, but, writes Heinrich, "some of the most amazing bird behaviors fall below the radar of what most birds do in aggregate". Heinrich's "passionate observations [that] superbly mix memoir and science" (New York Times) lead to fascinating questions – and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher bringing food to the young acts surreptitiously and is attacked by the mate. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich's cabin deliver the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings, and to make a related discovery about nest-cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground, and lands on the grass below. It can't fly. What will happen next?

"[...] A reading of One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives will teach you many things about a small selection of eastern North American birds. But the most important things you will get out of this book are the reminder that birds are individuals and the realization that there is much more to discover, even about our most common birds, and that anyone can do so.[...]"
– Grant McCreary (24-07-2017), read the full review at The Birder's Library

"[...] As well as being an incisive scientist, Heinrich is a great writer (his Ravens in Winter [1990] is still one of the best science books ever written) and through a series of charming encounters he starts us out on the path that leads towards 'science'. Along the way he reminds that birds are not just statistics, they are individuals with lives of their own, and, while we can't all live in a cabin deep in the woods, time spent watching birds with a curious mind is rarely wasted."
– Rob Robinson, BTO book reviews

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