Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: Avian Architecture

Left: One of the many illustrations in Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build.

I recently received a new publication from Princeton University Press, Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build, by Peter Goodfellow.

I have been taking pictures of bird nests when I am out birding, although I am not very good at identifying the various nests yet. However, it is fascinating to watch birds build their nests.

Peter Goodfellow is a retired English teacher and a lifelong birdwatcher. His previous books include Birds as Builders and A Naturalists Guide to Birds of Britain and Northern Europe. Avian Architecture is a beautiful book with lots of pictures and illustrations of the many styles of nests birds build. In addition, there are interesting insights into birds around the world.

Chapters are arranged by nest type (platform, cup-shaped, cavities, mounds, etc.) and include blueprints, descriptions of materials and features, case studies and beautiful illustrations and photographs. The pages I've included with this post are of the Common Wood Pigeon nest. I remember wood pigeons from my time in England. Dove and pigeon make such flimsy nests--it is surprising so many hold together.

One account I was taken with was the Edible-Nest Swiflet Nest account. I have heard of bird's-nest soup, although I can't quite get up enough curiosity to try it. However, I was fascinated with the fact that nest farming is becoming a huge industry in Indonesia. How would have thought?

Anyway, the book is not only beautiful to look at, but interesting to read. Priced at $27.95, this is a book to buy.

Good birding!

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