48 Following


Bird Behavior

Bird Behavior - Robert  Burton, Bruce   Campbell If birds don't float your boat, then just keep moving on to the next review, because you aren't cool enough to read this. That would be too bad, since birds are endlessly fun to watch, and very intellegent. They're little dinosaurs - no doubt about that- and as one GoodReader has noted (about pet birds, and pets in general I guess): they would really like to eat you, if they could. I know my cockateil would, but he doesn't know that I know, so if you happen to be over at my house, try not to say anything about it. It could be awkward.Sometimes I hear the birds outside singing early in the morning, and I like to think to myself how those are little dinosaurs. For some reason, that's a good thought to wake up to.So about this book: there happen to be several bird behavior books you might get, but as far as I know, this is the best one. Please observe closely, as I attempt to pass my personal perferences off as matters of rigid fact or moral certitude.The things that make this the best bird behavior book are as follows:1) Strong focus on local birds: Sure, it's fun to open up a book about birds and see large high-resolution pictures of exotic birds in South America (or wherever). If you're so inclined, you can even take the book down to your local zoo or aviary, and identify the habits and mannerisms of these exotic species... but can you trust any of that? Those birds are in captivity, and that might have fucked them up. It's better to see wild birds in their natural habitat (i.e.- look out your window) This book is good for that. While there may be an occasional ostrich, penguin, or other exotic here, there are also plenty of ravens, flickers, jays, robins, doves, hummingbirds, sparrows, starlings... you get the idea. (i.e.- this book is actually useful)2) Not a lot of time wasted on things I don't care about: I can't stress the importance of this enough. Publishers need to get it through their thick skulls that I don't like to read about things that do not hold my interest. Specifically in the case of bird behavior books: I don't like ones that give a huge amount of space to mating rituals and dances. I just don't happen to see much of that sort of thing in the course of my casual birdwatching, and I find it has zero minimal value as pornography. This book, on the other hand, has a very extensive chapter about aggressive gestures and territorialism. That's useful,see? Because that's stuff that you see EVERY SINGLE DAY, trust me. It's fun to read about, because you may even get to observe in the wild behaviours you read about before you forget you read them. 3) Good pictures: This seems pretty self-explanatory. 4) Fun facts that stick in my brain: Again, I cannot overstate to publishers the importance of putting fun facts that stick in my brain in all their books. I am watching birds as a hobby, understand? And a casual one at that. I'm not studying anything too intensively. Intense study is one of the things I'm generally trying to take a break from when I'm watching birds. A good example of a fun fact that stucks in my brain: I noticed that some birds walk around on the ground, placing one foot in front of the other in succession (hence my use of the word "walk"). Other birds, however, tend to hop about, springing forward with both feet simultaneously ("hop"?). Well, author Robert Burton noticed the same thing (now there are two of us), and wrote a nice explanation about why that is. The walkers spend enough time on the ground that their legs are so configured, and their muscles developed in a way conducive to walking. That's important becuase walking is slow, and lends itself to activities like foraging for food. Hoppers tend to be birds that spend the majority of their time up in trees, only occasionally visiting the ground for, like, vacation. They tend not to get their food from the ground, so don't need to slowly and carefully inspect it. They kind of tear around recklessly, not really appreciating all the detail of what is down there -like I said, they're on vacation. Their muscles are different. Don't get on me about Robins. There are exceptions to every rule. Deal with it.I just realized I have nothing more to say, so this sentence that you are reading right now.. no, NOW is the end of the review.