Bird Sense, Hardback book

Bird Sense: What It's Like To Be A Bird[Hardback]

by Tim Birkhead

4.00 out of 5 (1 ratings)

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 
Publication Date:
02 February 2012 
Wildlife: Birds & Birdwatching 


What is it like to be a swift, flying at over one hundred kilometres an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? And what is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? Bird Sense addresses questions like these and many more, by describing the senses of birds that enable them to interpret their environment and to interact with each other. Our affinity for birds is often said to be the result of shared senses - vision and hearing - but how exactly do their senses compare with our own? And what about a birds' sense of taste, or smell, or touch or the ability to detect the earth's magnetic field? Or the extraordinary ability of desert birds to detect rain hundreds of kilometres away - how do they do it? Bird Sense is based on a conviction that we have consistently underestimated what goes on in a bird's head. Our understanding of bird behaviour is simultaneously informed and constrained by the way we watch and study them. By drawing attention to the way these frameworks both facilitate and inhibit discovery, it identifies ways we can escape from them to seek new horizons in bird behaviour. There has never been a popular book about the senses of birds. No one has previously looked at how birds interpret the world or the way the behaviour of birds is shaped by their senses. A lifetime spent studying birds has provided Tim Birkhead with a wealth of observation and an understanding of birds and their behaviour that is firmly grounded in science.

Showing 1-1 out of 1 reviews.

  • I have been fascinated by birds all my life so I latched on to this book right away. Also, I took a year of animal behavior in college plus lab for a semester and also took a course in physiological psychology. Why am I telling you that? Because this book does use a lot of technical terms and refers to history of research behind each topic, I think that without an interest in birds, a reader might get discouraged or even bored but without a background in the technical terms, a reader may be lost or spend some time with the glossary in the back of the book.This book is divided into different topics: Seeing, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell, Magnetic Sense and Emotions. Besides the glossary in the back, there is a section on notes with references, a bibliography, and index and a postscript. My favorite chapter in this book is the one on Seeing. I had read recently in an article on the Internet that birds see more colors than we do. Humans have three different kinds of photoreceptors or commonly called cones. Ours are red, green and blue so all the colors that we perceive from those kinds of cones. But birds have the same cones but ultraviolent in addition. Because I don't know enough about UV light this fact makes me feel like I am fishing in the dark. I have cockatiels as pets. When I come home from my UVB treatment (as prescribed by a dermatologist) can they actually see a difference in me? Reading the information from the research prompted many interesting questions.Here are just some of the questions that this book answers:Can birds fly and sleep at the same time?How can raptors see in very dim light?What part of bird ears can grow back?What career would John James Audubon have followed if he had obeyed his father's wishes?What could prompt a bird to murder another bird?I recommend this book to all bird lovers and people who really want to know how birds perceive the world.I received this book from the Amazon Vine Program and that in no way influenced my review.

    4.00 out of 5


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Also by Tim Birkhead