Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight.
©2016 Jennifer Ackerman. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
"[Narrator Margaret] Strom sounds suitably amazed by it all, too--a fine match of material and voice." (AudioFile)
I'd like to preface this by saying that I have a passion for birds, and I love reading books about them. This book, however, was ruined. It was actually painful to try to trudge through this book BECAUSE OF THE NARRATION. I finally had to give up and read the hard copy. The book is good, but is not written by an ornithologist, so it lacks some of the deep understanding and passion that an ornithologist would offer.
Yes. The book was well researched and interesting (once I got rid of the narrator).
NO. If it were not for her broad middle-America accent, I would have thought that this narrator was unfamiliar with the English language. At the most generous, she is unfamiliar with many science terms. She loses fluency when there is the least bit of technical terminology and mispronounces so often that my groaning responses raised eyebrows of people next to me in the gym.When she said "orthony" instead of ornithology, I gave up, requested a refund, and read the hard copy.
Frustration: how hard can it be to find a narrator who has a basic understanding of biology? Or at least a producer who recognizes when pronunciation was wrong. I am sure the production staff caught some mistakes, but there were SO MANY of them! Irritation/Anger: The most irritating part of the problem was the halting tempo of her speech; it was obvious she did not understand what she was reading.
Do not hire this narrator for non-fiction.
The subject matter is intriguing. Ackerman strikes a nice balance for the layperson, getting detailed-but-not-too-detailed, so the book moves along without feeling like a textbook.
The narrator was generally pleasant but made some errors, detracting from the flow. Some examples are "hypocampus" for "hippocampus" (later pronounced correctly) and "orthanology" for what I assume was meant to be "ornithology." I found myself periodically rewinding because my brain seized on the incorrect word and lost the thru-line of the thought.
While the stories told in this book are interesting, the way the book is structured serves to distract and even trivialize the points Ackerman is trying to make. But most of all: the narration is awful. The narrator reads as if she has never looked at the text before, pausing in the middle of sentences to turn pages, stumbling over Latin names. I couldn't bring myself to sit through the entire book. And I really wanted to like this book.
The narrator could have practiced a bit before sitting down to record the book.
The narrator struggles with pronouncing every name and scientific idea that is a little difficult. I found myself bracing for the pause that came before every name before she spit it out. Read well, this book would be 5 star. What a shame!
The "Genius of Birds" is written as a series of anecdotal stories of the author's experiences and others research findings of the surprising capabilities of different species of birds from around the world. Spoken clearly by Ms Strom, Ackerman's book reveals that the descendants of dinosaurs have skills that we mere humans never realized. In addition to the obvious ability to fly, they have culture within a social structure that is only now coming to light. Birds have characteristics that used to be thought put humans on a level far above the other animals. The ability to plan ahead, make and use tools, and have personal lives that show them to be in some cases, more capable in their environment, than many of us are in ours. If you are looking for a story, with a plot line for entertainment this book isn't for you. If however, if you want to learn about something that will amaze you and change your perspective on a part of the life on earth you thought you knew, take a flight through the subject with Ackerman and learn more about your neighbors than you ever imagined!
very good information about a limited number of different species, with interesting significance for human research. some of us familiar with birds and books on birds may be familiar with a lot presented here. the navigation chapter was my favorite!
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