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In an entertaining and perceptive account of the lives of birds, from watching penguins in Antarctica to testing turkey vultures' sense of smell, Noah Strycker illuminates the surprising world of birds and their secret life.
In observing birds' intelligence and their emotional – even artistic – life, scientists have unlocked fascinating insights into memory, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself. They explore what birds can teach us about humanity. Drawing on cutting-edge scientific research, along with his personal experience (Strycker has travelled all over the world birdwatching), and with colourful anecdotes about the intimate co-existence of birds and man, The Magic & Mystery of Birds is a thoughtful and engaging look at how we often view the world through the experience of birds.
"[...] an engaging and informative read [...] At the end, we are left with a bouquet of diverse examples from which to draw our own conclusions about where the bird and human world overlaps; not a theoretical work, but an entertaining and inspiring one. Strycker includes a decent index and a substantial appendix in which he gives further details and citations needed for a reader to chase the many scientific articles he draws on in his sketches, making this book both charming for ornithological tourists and useful for serious researchers and behaviourists. It will provide fodder for know-it-all comments at cocktail parties and, perhaps, return us to that original sense of wonder that brought many of us to the work of understanding ourselves and the living world around us in the first place."
- Felice S. Wyndham, Ibis 157(2), April 2015
"illuminates something profound about all life, including our own"
- The Economist
"He thinks like a biologist but writes like a poet"
- Wall Street Journal
"A work of dazzling range, nimbly written"
- Brian Kimberling, author of Snapper
"Difficult to stop reading"
- Publishers Weekly
- Kirkus Reviews
"I've read books about birds all of my life and this is the one I've been waiting for [...] At last we have a book worthy of this subject."
- Mary Pipher, author of The Green Boat