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5.0 out of 5 starsBEST ever book on birds!!!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2015
This is the BEST!!! I've read a lot of books about birds, and even though most have been full of information, studiously presented, competently written...well, sometimes they are a bit dry, tedious, meant to be picked up occasionally, but tough to sit down and read through. Dense? Maybe so. Strycker's book is absolutely wonderful, incredibly engaging from the first page to the last. Yes, every topic is VERY well researched, from how turkey vultures manage to locate dead yum yums (and it's not what you would think--a great sniffer, right?) to why snowy owls sometimes appear in the least likely locations--again, not what you would think...I tend to tear through a book that I am enjoying, but this experience was very different. I savored each chapter, set the book aside for a bit--and tried to stifle my appetite a bit to enjoy the next terrific piece. Strycker is an excellent writer, a creative thinker, a thorough researcher, a passionate lover of those things with feathers. --And his examination of birds goes beyond that to reflect on us, those things without feathers!
3.0 out of 5 starsInteresting Book, But Product Problem
Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2019
I bought this book as a gift for a friend is who is a birder. Skimming through it since the reviews were so good even I found myself caught up in it quickly. I could easily dive into this book with enjoyment.
The problem is that the book arrived quite damaged. A portion of the lower half of the cover page was torn and folded over and appears to have been pressed that way for a long time. Plus the book appears to have been pressed very hard against a sharp corner, like a table. So there was a single, large crease permeating the entire length of the book. That could have happened in delivery. But I highly doubt the tear happened in transit. It was in one of those white, somewhat firm plastic sleeves with no damage on the outside. So I can only surmise that it was already damaged when it was slipped into the sleeve.
Normally I would send it back for an exchange since it was a gift. But there wasn't sufficient time. So I gave it to my buddy anyway and he decided it was fine. It wouldn't change the readability of it. But I was a disappointed that I had to give him a worn and used looking book.
I suspected that this might be a special book so I ordered a hard back book with paper pages. This was a special decision for me, since I been reading Kindle books, and nothing but Kindle books for over two years. It was a good decision since, I will be going back to reread parts, or possibly the whole book, again maybe more than once. I am not a "birder", and have no intention of identifying birds and keeping lists of those I see. THINGS WITH FEATHERS is unique and wonderful. Each chapter presents something quite unusual in a particular type of bird. The knowledge that the author has for each bird is vast, and the result of travel and following birds into their habitat for long periods of time. In addition to that, much study of science, music, physics and anything related to the aspect of the bird behavior he is presenting. Humor is also present. The author does to seem to take himself too seriously, and sometimes, had me laughing our loud. I'm a painter, and not a book reviewer - so will use the new appreciation I have of birds, in my paintings, and have already done so.
Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2017
Draws on a large literature, fascinating in depth sketches of radically different species, using as a hook similarities and difference from humans in area as diverse as love, art, and ritual. As a teaser, Magpies observe funerals for dead magpies in a given territory.
A delightful book about birds and their behavior! Did you know that hummingbirds are vicious little creatures? Or that albatrosses mate for life and live for many decades? Which birds are so artistic that we compare them to human artists? It's all in here, and then some. You'll love this book.
4.0 out of 5 starsA Surprising Book on Birds and What it Reveals
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2014
I was looking for a good anecdotal addition to my growing interest in birds when I ran across the listing for this book and its quirky title. Had I stopped looking after reading the title I probably would have moved on, but it was the subtitle ("The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human,") that gave me reason to explore further. How could knowing about birds - even a selected list of birds - teach us anything about our humanity?
Within its pages, Noah Strycker creates a compelling case for how living creatures are often like other living creatures; he shows us the mysteries that make us wonder; the baffling realizations that drive us to study birds at all. It transcends mere human psychology, exploring the abilities of homing pigeons, the precision of starling flocks, why white owls wander, the aggression of hummingbirds, penguin fear rhythm in parrots and true and undying love in albatrosses. It directly addresses the question: why are birds the way they are?
It also defines the fascinating career of young Noah Strycker, a seasoned and widely experienced ornithologist (and associate editor of "Birding" magazine), whose avian curiosity drives the passion behind the quest to understand the brains of birds and how that relates to how we humans think, or, as Strycker writes, "This book may be about the bird world, but it's also about the human world."
In its largest sense, Strycker analyses the physical, mental, and spiritual lives of birds from around the world through each of his more than a dozen selected breeds; more than that, it's how he sections his work.
And for those looking for " an anecdotal addition" to their interest in birds, this might just be THE book you were looking for, and THE author to present it to you.
This book was light on birds and heavy into evolution.......over and over again the focus was on species origin, development through the ages, on and on. It was certainly "factual" and researched, but not at all the insights I expected. More like an evolutionary treatise or science book.
Mr Stryker gives episodic accounts of birds' reactions, actions, strategies in coping with the challenges they encounter on a daily basis or even in one-time events. These episodes put paid to the notion that birds are only pretty automatons that make (for the most part) pleasant sounds by demonstrating objectively that they definitely are more than that. What I found very useful was the introduction to the anatomy of a bird's brain whose degree of complexity in some cases places it on the same level as that of primates. This book is an excellent combination of science and of accounts of and experiences with birds, making the book readable for anyone who is interested in or curious about these beings - who, by the way, are the last decendants of a branch of predatory dinosaurs - thus leading on to a journey of discovery that will both delight and astonish..
This book delighted me. Stryker is an engaging enthusiast and I learned so much, both about birds and people. I've loaned the book to friends and they have felt the same; found the book informative, intriguing, and knowledgeable.