Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs

How the Struggle for Survival Has Shaped Birds and Their Behavior
Narrated by: Charles Constant
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (388 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When we see a bird flying from branch to branch happily chirping, it is easy to imagine they lead a simple life of freedom, flight, and feathers. What we don't see is the arduous, life-threatening challenges they face at every moment. Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs guides the listener through the myriad, and often almost miraculous, things that birds do every day to merely stay alive. Like the goldfinch, which manages extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter. Or urban birds, which navigate traffic through a keen understanding of posted speed limits. In engaging and accessible prose, Roger Lederer shares how and why birds use their sensory abilities to see ultraviolet, find food without seeing it, fly thousands of miles without stopping, change their songs in noisy cities, navigate by smell, and much more.

©2016 Roger J. Lederer (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An exceptional overview of the life, adaptations, and impressive skill sets of wild birds...Highly recommended for all interested in natural history and the impact of humans on the natural world." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • K.
  • 03-20-19

very dense but good info

this book has a ton of great information, but there are parts where it can be so scientifically dense that even I had to take breaks from it. still recommend for bird lovers, but don't expect to binge listen.

44 people found this helpful

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The most informative bird book I've read.

Thi is the most informative bird book I've read. I will be reading several sections again.

25 people found this helpful

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Fascinating facts about birds!

For those interested in learning about birds,this book compiles the evidence that shows how amazing, diverse, and smart birds can be.

23 people found this helpful

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learned a lot

so the good news is the book is filled with information that the common bird enthusiast might not know
it's not even bad news but I just wish there was more information on action plans
what can I do to help and how can I take action?

19 people found this helpful

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Very informative. Great performance

I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely read it again. it is full of great information.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Logic on its head.

Quote "Evolution, in its wisdom, developed different shapes to reduce competition". No.

"Evolution" is not an entity, directing and designing. Evolution the theory that proposes how the process of genetic hiccups creates variation, favoring those that manage to reproduce thru adaptation to an ecological niche.

Literary license does not allow the author to misdirect the reader.

3 people found this helpful

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Too Technical To Enjoy

I am a scientist and bird enthusiast, but I found this too technical to enjoy, I often listen to Audible on my way to and from work, on my work breaks and lunch, but it seemed like every time I tuned in, the topic of discussion was about regurgitation to feed the young. Other discussions explaining bone structure were so descriptive that I felt I needed a diagram to follow his narrative. The author is clearly knowledgeable, but this is more of a reference book for graduate students specializing in ornithology rather than someone who delights in just being a backyard bird watcher.

3 people found this helpful

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Full of Facts (to a fault)

There are certainly a lot of facts in this book about birds. For me, though, too many unrelenting facts lined up end to end that the book blurred into sounding like and endless list. Not to say that the facts aren't interesting, but I often found myself being distracted and my mind wandering because the facts seemed to roll on and on to the point of becoming tedious. I just didn't find enough intonation in the narration to make it sound interesting. A bit like someone - a non-actor - reading the Manhattan phone book.

There are interesting things to learn about birds, but the format and narration became tedious at times.

The final part of the book is about the decline of birds through destruction of habitat and other impacts of human activity. I thought it was probably the best part of the book. The syntax was a bit more conversational. And the content interesting in terms of humankind's impact on the shrinking natural world around us.

2 people found this helpful

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Not a flight of fancy

Excellent book for both experienced and novice birder. Fascinating details bring greater joy to observing the winged (or not) inhabitants of our world.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant bird book

This comprehensive book reveals the lives of birds,and is fascinating. As a bird-lover,the examples of what birds do to survive ,gave me hope that we will still have birds in our lives and backyards if they can survive the climate change that threatens them. I learned a lot about birds,many things I did not know.I cannot fathom a world without them.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-21-18

Read "The Genius of Birds" instead.

Not a good narrator, somewhat robotic, and content isn't particularly stylish. There is some interesting information but overall rather flat.

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  • Svetlana Velichko
  • 09-01-18

Amazing book about birds!

Pleasure to listen, author collected modern knowledge and scientific facts about birds life in our human technologically infested natural environment, good voice, special thanks to an actor who read the book, will listen again