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Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird | [Tim Birkhead]

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 bird's 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, Birkhead identifies ways we can escape from them to explore 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 all their senses. A lifetime spent studying birds has provided Tim Birkhead with a wealth of observation and a unique understanding of birds and their behaviour that is firmly grounded in science.

©2012 Tim Birkhead (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (45 )
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4.1 (38 )
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Story
4.0 (38 )
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  •  
    Alessandro Blacktown, Australia 06-01-14
    Alessandro Blacktown, Australia 06-01-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    8
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    "If you did not love birds before you will!"
    What did you love best about Bird Sense?

    Very well and entertainingly written and read. Informative but not dull in any way. Amazing and startling.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The writer, Professor Birkhead is very knowledgeable and writes in an easy to understand and flowing style that is a pleasure to just sit and listen, and listen...


    Which character – as performed by Robin Sachs – was your favorite?

    Not applicable. But Robin Sachs is a sensitive and pleasant reader.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Some of the early (two hundred years or more ago) experiments that were performed on some of the birds species made me cringe in shame for our callousness.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books I have listened to in a long time. I hope audible will bring to us more of Tim Birkhead's work, hopefully with the same reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Antelope Valley, CA, United States 07-07-14
    Diana Antelope Valley, CA, United States 07-07-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    82
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    "Beautifully written and narrated science of birds"

    This book was more scientific than I expected, but surprisingly entertaining.

    The author has a beautiful writing style and uses words artfully. A wry sense of humor dotted the scientific information but the keen observations of birds, surroundings, and even other scientists made this book very enjoyable.

    The narrator's voice is wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph H. Oyer Worcester, MA, US 06-24-14
    Joseph H. Oyer Worcester, MA, US 06-24-14 Member Since 2014

    Audible has helped me expand my appreciation for history, science and the arts. The Great Courses series are illuminating. More please!!

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
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    Story
    "Flights of Fancy"
    What made the experience of listening to Bird Sense the most enjoyable?

    What incredibly complex and wonderful creatures are birds. The senses of birds are explored in a way that includes a chronology of our observations over the centuries combined with our present day scientific knowledge. The examples and explainations given in exploring the senses of birds are easy for scientists and nonscientists to understand.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are many "characters" in the form of the various species of birds that are equally fascinating in their actions and their adaptation to this planet.


    Have you listened to any of Robin Sachs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have no prior experience however Mr Sachs`s performance is as an accomplished story teller.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. There is too much information for me to absorb in one sitting. One or two chapters at a time is plenty to take in by this listener. I`ll probably reinforce what I learned in a second listening


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful book! Makes me want to take a birding course!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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