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.
Very well and entertainingly written and read. Informative but not dull in any way. Amazing and startling.
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...
Not applicable. But Robin Sachs is a sensitive and pleasant reader.
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.
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.
If you have ever wondered what it's like to be a bird this book is a must. Details like why a falcon's eyesight is so good (because the eyeball has two foviae as opposed to a human's one). And did you know that relative to body size, the size of bird's eyes are almost twice as large as those of most mammals? Even with a distaste for biology this book easily held my attention...sound localisation, taste, smell, magnetic sense, emotions, it's all there. And all very well done.
If you like learning cool facts about animal behavior, you'll love this book. Full of surprising information on how various species of bird perceive the world, and how that drives their behavior. Good narrator, kept my interest.
This book not only tells you what the birds experience, but how we know what they experience. There are many interesting facts both about birds and the pioneers that discovered those facts and what experiments uncovered them. It's organized by sense, which I thought was helpful in visualizing bird life. If you like books that make the world around you more interesting, this is the book for you.
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.
Audible has helped me expand my appreciation for history, science and the arts. The Great Courses series are illuminating. More please!!
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.
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.
I have no prior experience however Mr Sachs`s performance is as an accomplished story teller.
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
Wonderful book! Makes me want to take a birding course!
I actually selected this book because I love Robin Sachs, and he did not disappoint here.
I am not an avid birder but I pay attention to what I see; like to recognize species, and am fascinated to understand the behavior of birds and other animals in the wild. But Birkhead takes the reader behind the scenes for a clear and intriguing look at how we know what we know and the ingenuity of the people who figured things out. The correspondence -- over the course of centuries -- among people studying birds gives a wonderful personal sense of the individuals and their quests.
Yes, this is definitely about the scientific process, but it's described clearly and eloquently. In the process, we get to see and understand the dazzling variety of birds' evolutionary solutions to living in the extremes of settings and environments.
I liked the listen so much I've ordered a hard copy to return to and to share with like-minded friends.
I thought the book was quite interesting and I learned a lot about birds. This is one of the few books that I'll probably re-listen to because there is so much good information that I want to retain.
The reader, however, is not my favorite. He is a bit too slow so ended up listening to the book on 1.25 or 1.5 speed. He also has a "smokers" voice which to me, is not completely pleasant. Nevertheless, the book is good.
BTW, don't Google the bird "cock on a rock" at work. Just saying.
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