Thursday, February 7, 2013
Book Review: Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead
Birkhead makes it clear early on that there is no one answer to this question: Different birds have different sensory arrays and approach the world accordingly. Kiwis use their sense of smell a lot; owls use their eyes; oilbirds navigate like bats, using echolocation, and so it goes. The book chapters are divided by sense, with on chapter covering sight, one hearing, one smell, and so on; there is even a chapter on emotions, detailing the physiological and observational accounts of bird emotion.
For each sense, Birkhead gives a short history of the study of the sense, generally focusing primarily on one bird. He describes the way the sense has been studied, what discoveries have been made when and by whom. Anecdote and information are mixed perfectly, keeping the book highly informative and enjoyable. Birkhead clearly respects both birds and readers. He explains matters clearly, never giving any sense of talking down to or about anyone. Bird Sense is both information-dense and comprehensible.
Links of Interest:
Bird Sense on Amazon