Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Bird Sense

I just got a new book (published in April) in the mail, and it is absolutely fascinating. Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird, by Tim Birkhead, explores how birds perceive their world through their senses, and how that perception affects their lives.

The book does provide a lot of anatomical and physiological information, but in a way that the average reader won't be intimidated. Historical accounts illustrate how we made the discoveries about how senses work. One very interesting discussion revolves around how well birds smell, using the turkey vulture to illustrate. That question is still debated in the general public.  I'm not going to give you the answer; read the book and discover it for yourself.

I am currently enrolled in the Cornell ecourse, Courtship and Rivalry in Birds, in which one of the discussions going on is emotions in birds--there is a chapter in this book on that very topic. Birkhead's conclusion is that birds do feel emotions, but not in the same way we do.

This is not a long book (around 200 pages of text), but is very well documented if you want to find out more.

This is another one of those books that should find a place on every birder's book shelf. $25 retail/$13.25 hardcover on Amazon/$9.99 for the Kindle edition.

Good birding!

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