John Burgoyne's illustrations, especially the cover, are lovely. He also illustrated Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. Thumbs up to the author for including references, citations, and a useful index. The Genius of Birds is mainly summaries of other people's research; most of which I was already familiar with. I would have preferred more The narrator of the audiobook frequently mispronounces words.
I would have preferred more original content. Frequently a topic is mentioned in several different chapters, sometimes in nearly identical wording, making the book feel even more repetitive. I noticed an error in the book, which hopefully will be corrected in future editions.
Some say vocal mimicry in birds is more like the Batesian version of mimicry: Viceroys are not toxic. Viceroy caterpillars feed on members of the willow family, sequestering salicylic acid, which tastes bitter but is not toxic to predators. Monarchs feed on milkweed, sequestering steroids called cardenolides, which are both unpalatable and toxic to predators. You might also enjoy: Jul 21, Atila Iamarino rated it it was amazing Shelves: Um daqueles livros legais de ler pelas curiosidades que ele vai contando, na mesma linha do Are We Smart Enough.
Mar 03, Liz rated it really liked it. I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This was an interesting book! I had been anticipating a book that described the intelligence and behaviors of birds to be a very dull read. The author did a great job in introducing the attributes of birds from tool making, social networking, vocal ability and much more. I learned a lot and will never look at a bird in my yard the same way again.
Feb 15, Jean added it. The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman is a gamechanger for the way in which the curious reader will think concerning birds. Perhaps you thought birds were cute but not very bright, for example. Get ready to change your mind when you read in chapter one about "", a corbid kind of crow from New Caledonia , who goes through 8 steps, using tools, within two and a half minutes to get to a piece of food, after one scrutiny of this puzzle.
Many types of birds are very smart, in the manner which The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman is a gamechanger for the way in which the curious reader will think concerning birds. Many types of birds are very smart, in the manner which humans are smart. Interestingly, the birds which take the longest to raise in the nest are the smartest and have the biggest brains with the appropriate neurons.
This section discusses the brilliance of some kinds of birds. Here you will find the tool users and others, such as the kees, who love clowning around and horseplay. As an illustration of this, the author mentions a kee who was seen rolling up a doormat and pushing it down a flight of steps. The writing by the author Jennifer Ackerman is at times beautiful as when she is describing the rainforest at nightfall ,or laugh-out-loud funny she discusses attempts by a bird biologist to measure intelligence in his test subjects by disguising himself, wearing at different sessions: They always recognized him.
She is always fresh too, with new news on birds right up to this year. As things have changed dramatically in what we know about birds within the past ten years, this book is welcome as an overview, now. This is a book for bird lovers of all sorts. There is a section about the social aspect of birds, subtitled "twitter".
This is fascinating too. The reader will learn about how different types of birds bond, and how they teach their young to perform certain important actions they will eventually need to survive. Also discussed is how some types of birds teach others in their particular "group" techniques they have been trained. They then were able to watch and track as their trained birds performed the tasks in the woods. The birds they had trained managed to train additional wild members to do exactly as they did, What collaborative little creatures! Further on, you learn about vocal virtuosity.
I particularly love bird song, as I find it incredibly uplifting. I didn't know that birds must be tutored to sing however. I understand this now, from this book. In this chapter you learn that among Thomas Jefferson's favorite pets were his mockingbirds. Later,when you read about Honey Child, a hand raised mockingbird, your jaw will drop with amazement at the repertoire of his songs, which he would add to and occasionally drop throughout the length of his life.
Woodpeckers, wrens, jays, you name it, Honey Child is worth the read! You will learn that this intricate process of vocal learning is termed "advanced", because, it's done "our way", eg. The male songbirds who have better songs appeal to the females more, too. As the author writes, "Listening for super-sexy syllables allows female canaries to rule out males with poor bilateral co-ordination" This is important, if you are a lady canary! Read on, through this award-winning author's book, to learn about birds who decorate: This is a book to curl up with in the winter, or to take along on your cruise.
It doesn't really have photos, just a few sketches of birds opening each chapter, but that is not the point of this book. The Genius of Birds is about behaviors, patterns, reversal learning, which bird is the "world's dumbest"--yes, it has an offering for that, but not the author's and I cracked up at that part!!! The Genius of Birds is a big read, but nothing in it is wasted on the willing reader. I applaud Ackerman for taking me outside and to all sorts of amazing places, when she wrote this uplifting, extraordinary book about beautiful, beautiful birds.
View all 7 comments. May 07, Cathymw rated it it was ok Shelves: I'm a birder so I wanted to like this. The author reminded me of a kid writing a term paper and padding things trying to get to the minimum page limit. Just in the intro, she remarked 6 or 7 times about birds who cached their food and could find it later.
There were some interesting studies and stories, but I found myself skimming most of the book to get past the tedious parts. One chapter talked about birds creating elaborately decorated nests. Some photos would have been nice--he I'm a birder so I wanted to like this. Some photos would have been nice--here and other places.
May 02, Lynn rated it liked it. One must be a major devotee of birds to love this book. It is well researched and written: It had a particularly elegant section on the dangers of anthropomorphism: However, my major criticism of the book was that it was guilty of the very thing it warned against. Tim Low, no mean slouch as a bird man, writes in the foreword: It certainly was revelatory for me. I knew about crows who exploited traffic light sequences so that car wheels would crack nuts the birds would wait for and retrieve in the pedestrian light cycle.
But a crow who can correctly open a food puzzle using 6 separate tools in correct order the first time? In less than 3 minutes? Or a grey parrot who can not only count and talk but who clearly understands a range of language and can carry on a sensible, if limited, conversation. Our copy is bulging with stick-it notes of various shapes and sizes. So many ideas, so many illuminating examples that you want to keep track of. If you're interested in how smart birds are, then this book is a must read. It's the most interesting science-base book I've read this year.
Here is what the Scientific American said about it: Birds' clever social and environmental problem-solving skills, she shows, establish them among the most intelligent members of the animal kingdom. Crows frequently steal the show: Even birdsong is cause for admiration: Ackerman devotes each chapter to a different bird skill and ends the book with a discussion of avian adaptive capabilities, which will prove vital in the near future as climate change and loss of habitat have put more than half of North American bird species at risk, according to the Audubon Society'.
Nov 22, Cheryl rated it liked it. Ackerman is a good science writer. She gives negative examples, she explains about how some interpretations of data can be made to say 'oh look! She understands the scientific method of random sampling, control group, etc. She knows that there are lots and lots of unanswered questions, and insufficient data to be assured of the theories of those we think we probably have answered. But still, she's a journalist, not a scientist.
There are so m Ackerman is a good science writer. There are so many reports here of birds doing amazing things, and notes in the back to justify all the anecdotes, that the impression a reader is given is one of total awe for birds' intelligence. But almost none of the anecdotes are backed up in the text with explanations of the research.
All too often I wondered, "How on earth could they measure that? Or figure out that? This was often entertaining, but seldom enlightening. I do have some book darts here: I'm charmed by the mental image of the little stint, a sandpiper, skittering along the edge of the waves, as if thinking, "can't get my knees wet, can't get my knees wet.
Mar 24, Bonny rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Genius of Birds is a striking book in many ways, from the gorgeous cover, to the facts and information that Ackerman conveys to the reader, to the whole new way the reader will look at and appreciate birds after reading this excellent book. The author begins by defining the many ways intelligence or genius is manifested in birds, the difficulties scientists encounter in measuring it, and then goes on to write about some of the incredible things that birds are capable of.
New Caledonian crows The Genius of Birds is a striking book in many ways, from the gorgeous cover, to the facts and information that Ackerman conveys to the reader, to the whole new way the reader will look at and appreciate birds after reading this excellent book.
The author discusses bird brain structure, the syrinx the unique cartilage and membranous organ that allows birds to sing , and how birds listen and learn. She tells us about the marvels of nest-building and how birds make complex navigational decisions. This book is filled with facts, but they come from extensive research and are conveyed in interesting, informative, and entertaining ways.
Ackerman describes the behavior of some exotic and unique birds, but also points out that we can all make the same types of observations on the birds that frequent our own backyard feeders. I learned a great deal and have a new appreciation for birds, their advanced cognition and abilities, and I think many readers will feel the same way after reading The Genius of Birds.
Thank you to Penguin Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. Oct 12, Carmen rated it really liked it. This lovely book took me a while to get through because I didn't want to rush the reading, or gloss over all of the marvelous facts Ackerman painstakingly presents. The author's love and respect for our feathered friends is obvious in her summaries of quirks, personalities, and proclivities of birds. There are scientific facts, anecdotes, summaries, and observations of the level of intelligence and the sheer ingenuity of birds and how they reach their goals.
While this is not a novel, it is ver This lovely book took me a while to get through because I didn't want to rush the reading, or gloss over all of the marvelous facts Ackerman painstakingly presents. While this is not a novel, it is very easy to read, and fills your mind with the fluttering and thought processes, which various species of birds go through. As a lay-birdwatcher and ardent feeder- replenisher, I very much enjoyed this and recommend it. Many thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Jun 01, Michael Livingston rated it really liked it. A snappily written summary of recent scientific findings demonstrating the remarkable intelligence of a variety of bird species, including tool-making and use by crows, identification of patterns by pigeons, incredible feats of navigation and on and on. It's probably not a book that's going to completely draw in the non-bird nerd, but it's compelling, entertaining and readable. Jul 01, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really enjoyed this lovely book.
It's a nice blend of science and anecdote, which makes it very readable, even if you're not an ornithologist I have a zoology degree, but I'm not an ornithologist. The shift in thinking about the bird brains since the 's is significant. Previous to then, it was thought that bird brains were quite primitive in comparison to mammal brains.
New research shows that to be not at all the case. It also reminded me of the importance of staying current in my field I really enjoyed this lovely book. It also reminded me of the importance of staying current in my field. I finished my degree in the mid's, and while much of the research was familiar to me, it is a very different outlook to when I was in school. Some of the experiments designed to study bird navigation were ingenious, and I think my favorite thing about the results was that it seems that birds use a combination of things including sight, smell, and geomagnetics.
Studies have shown that birds who use multiple types of navigation methods have more gray matter in the rear portion of the hippocampus, as do London cab drivers. Interesting see quote below. On the other hand, by the end of the book, I was reflecting on the ethics of experimentation. What is the purpose of the study? Is it just to know more? Is there a vital need to know this information for the betterment of human or bird lives? How much pain or permanent damage is justified in the search for knowledge?
I don't necessarily have answers for all these questions, but I think it's important to always be keeping them in mind as we seek knowledge. I will end with a quote that is food for thought: This raises a troubling question. If our human navigational efforts shape our hippocampus, what happens when we stop using it for this purpose - when we lean too hard on technology such as GPS, which makes navigation a brain-free endeavor?
GPS replaces navigational demands with a very pure form of stimulus-response behavior turn left, turn right. Some scientists fear that overdependence on this technology will shrink our hippocampus. Indeed, when researchers at McGill University scanned the brains of older adults who used GPS and those who didn't, they found that the people accustomed to navigating on their own had more gray matter in the hippocampus and showed less overall impairment than those who relied on GPS.
As we lose the habit of forming cognitive maps, we may be losing gray matter and along with it, if Tolman is right, our capacity for social understanding. This book has some really neat and interesting facts, like smart vultures in Zimbabwe that figured out that if they perch on barbed wire fences near minefields, they just have to wait for dinner to explode. I also found it really neat that the amount of dee dee's in a chickadee-dee-dee's call have significance and indicate the size and threat of a nearby predator. Where this book falls short for me was in authors original content.
I got tired of hearing who said what and who studied whom. I really wanted original observations and I didn't get that. I also listened to this publication via audiobook and the narrator wasn't very good. There were long pauses at inappropriate places; like at commas, mid sentence, or before a word that isn't common like they had to pause to find out proper pronunciation. This really effected my enjoyment of the book. Oh, one more fun fact, Turkey's are the closest thing on the planet to dinosaurs.
From now on, I shall forever call them Turkeysaurus'. May 04, Charlene rated it liked it Shelves: Studying birds in evolutionary bio was so eye opening. I loved to learn about how females choose males, how males use song to compete with other males, how each sex fights off other birds who want to have sex with their mate, how bower birds build intricate structures to woo the females, how jays brilliantly hide their treasures and use Machiavellian trickery, etc.
This book was well researched but I think only bird watchers or true bird lovers could fall in love with this book. It was too dry f Studying birds in evolutionary bio was so eye opening. It was too dry for me. I wanted to be wowed like I was in various classes about animal behavior.
It took a lot for me to make myself concentrate. If you don't mind a dry presentation and have love for the amazing things birds can do, you will likely find this book worthy of more than 3 stars. Aug 18, Leo Walsh rated it liked it. Since I love birds, biology and cognitive science. But while the book blurb promises to survey the amazing field of bird cognition, it often reads like a David Attenborough nature series on PBS, with Ackerman flitting from bird to bird interspersed with interviews from scientists.
Worse, the science is sort of old-hat if you watch PBS's nature and science programming as well. Still, the book does a great exploration of b I'm not sure why Jennifer Ackerman's The Genius of Birds bored me at times. Still, the book does a great exploration of bird navigation and the often sophisticated internal maps.
And were I uninitiated like some readers will no doubt be, I'd be shocked to learn of the creative problem-solving skills and adaptability of the smartest of these critters, like crows, house sparrows and magpies. Especially when compare to dim-witted turkeys, chickens and ostriches.
Nov 24, Joanne rated it it was ok Shelves: I love birds, am fascinated by them, so I was looking forward to this book so much. I got to about page 65 before I admitted that I was never going to finish it. I wanted a chatty book with examples and anecdotes but instead, this book read like a thesis. La realidad es totalmente diferente: Jan 02, Hadrian rated it liked it Shelves: Charming study of the behaviors of birds.
At times, the book is an information dump, where the author just summarizes recent scientific papers, one after another, but many of the anecdotes and stories are interesting.
Jun 22, Nikki rated it liked it Shelves: As a whole, the book definitely makes a case for birds as specialised, well adapted, and very intelligent in their own spheres. Reviewed for The Bibliophibian. This is, in truth, heroic argument, This genuine prowess, which I wished to touch With hand however weak, but in the main It lies far hidden from the reach of words. Points have we all of us within our souls Where all stand single; this I feel, and make Breathings for incommunicable powers; But is not each a memory to himself?
And, therefore, now that we must quit this theme, I am not heartless, for there's not a man That lives who hath not known his god-like hours, And feels not what an empire we inherit As natural beings in the strength of Nature. A Traveller I am, Whose tale is only of himself; even so, So be it, if the pure of heart be prompt To follow, and if thou, my honoured Friend! Who in these thoughts art ever at my side, Support, as heretofore, my fainting steps.
It hath been told, that when the first delight That flashed upon me from this novel show Had failed, the mind returned into herself; Yet true it is, that I had made a change In climate, and my nature's outward coat Changed also slowly and insensibly. Full oft the quiet and exalted thoughts Of loneliness gave way to empty noise And superficial pastimes; now and then Forced labour, and more frequently forced hopes; And, worst of all, a treasonable growth Of indecisive judgments, that impaired And shook the mind's simplicity.
Could I behold— Who, less insensible than sodden clay In a sea-river's bed at ebb of tide, Could have beheld,—with undelighted heart, So many happy youths, so wide and fair A congregation in its budding-time Of health, and hope, and beauty, all at once So many divers samples from the growth Of life's sweet season—could have seen unmoved That miscellaneous garland of wild flowers Decking the matron temples of a place So famous through the world?
To me, at least, It was a goodly prospect: Not seeking those who might participate My deeper pleasures nay, I had not once, Though not unused to mutter lonesome songs, Even with myself divided such delight, Or looked that way for aught that might be clothed In human language , easily I passed From the remembrances of better things, And slipped into the ordinary works Of careless youth, unburthened, unalarmed. Caverns there were within my mind which sun Could never penetrate, yet did there not Want store of leafy arbours where the light Might enter in at will.
Companionships, Friendships, acquaintances, were welcome all. We sauntered, played, or rioted; we talked Unprofitable talk at morning hours; Drifted about along the streets and walks, Read lazily in trivial books, went forth To gallop through the country in blind zeal Of senseless horsemanship, or on the breast Of Cam sailed boisterously, and let the stars Come forth, perhaps without one quiet thought.
Such was the tenor of the second act In this new life. Imagination slept, And yet not utterly. I could not print Ground where the grass had yielded to the steps Of generations of illustrious men, Unmoved. I could not always lightly pass Through the same gateways, sleep where they had slept, Wake where they waked, range that inclosure old, That garden of great intellects, undisturbed. Place also by the side of this dark sense Of noble feeling, that those spiritual men, Even the great Newton's own ethereal self, Seemed humbled in these precincts thence to be The more endeared.
Their several memories here Even like their persons in their portraits clothed With the accustomed garb of daily life Put on a lowly and a touching grace Of more distinct humanity, that left All genuine admiration unimpaired. Beside the pleasant Mill of Trompington I laughed with Chaucer in the hawthorn shade; Heard him, while birds were warbling, tell his tales Of amorous passion. Yea, our blind Poet, who, in his later day, Stood almost single; uttering odious truth— Darkness before, and danger's voice behind, Soul awful—if the earth has ever lodged An awful soul—I seemed to see him here Familiarly, and in his scholar's dress Bounding before me, yet a stripling youth— A boy, no better, with his rosy cheeks Angelical, keen eye, courageous look, And conscious step of purity and pride.
Among the band of my compeers was one Whom chance had stationed in the very room Honoured by Milton's name. Be it confest that, for the first time, seated Within thy innocent lodge and oratory, One of a festive circle, I poured out Libations, to thy memory drank, till pride And gratitude grew dizzy in a brain Never excited by the fumes of wine Before that hour, or since. Then, forth I ran From the assembly; through a length of streets, Ran, ostrich-like, to reach our chapel door In not a desperate or opprobrious time, Albeit long after the importunate bell Had stopped, with wearisome Cassandra voice No longer haunting the dark winter night.
Call back, O Friend! With careless ostentation shouldering up My surplice, through the inferior throng I clove Of the plain Burghers, who in audience stood On the last skirts of their permitted ground, Under the pealing organ. I am ashamed of them: In this mixed sort The months passed on, remissly, not given up To wilful alienation from the right, Or walks of open scandal, but in vague And loose indifference, easy likings, aims Of a low pitch—duty and zeal dismissed, Yet Nature, or a happy course of things Not doing in their stead the needful work.
The memory languidly revolved, the heart Reposed in noontide rest, the inner pulse Of contemplation almost failed to beat. Such life might not inaptly be compared To a floating island, an amphibious spot Unsound, of spongy texture, yet withal Not wanting a fair face of water weeds And pleasant flowers. The thirst of living praise, Fit reverence for the glorious Dead, the sight Of those long vistas, sacred catacombs, Where mighty minds lie visibly entombed, Have often stirred the heart of youth, and bred A fervent love of rigorous discipline.
Look was there none within these walls to shame My easy spirits, and discountenance Their light composure, far less to instil A calm resolve of mind, firmly addressed To puissant efforts. Nor was this the blame Of others, but my own; I should, in truth, As far as doth concern my single self, Misdeem most widely, lodging it elsewhere: For I, bred up 'mid Nature's luxuries, Was a spoiled child, and rambling like the wind, As I had done in daily intercourse With those crystalline rivers, solemn heights, And mountains, ranging like a fowl of the air, I was ill-tutored for captivity; To quit my pleasure, and, from month to month, Take up a station calmly on the perch Of sedentary peace.
Those lovely forms Had also left less space within my mind, Which, wrought upon instinctively, had found A freshness in those objects of her love, A winning power, beyond all other power. Not that I slighted books, —that were to lack All sense,—but other passions in me ruled, Passions more fervent, making me less prompt To in-door study than was wise or well, Or suited to those years. Yet I, though used In magisterial liberty to rove, Culling such flowers of learning as might tempt A random choice, could shadow forth a place If now I yield not to a flattering dream Whose studious aspect should have bent me down To instantaneous service; should at once Have made me pay to science and to arts And written lore, acknowledged my liege lord, A homage frankly offered up, like that Which I had paid to Nature.
Toil and pains In this recess, by thoughtful Fancy built, Should spread from heart to heart; and stately groves, Majestic edifices, should not want A corresponding dignity within. The congregating temper that pervades Our unripe years, not wasted, should be taught To minister to works of high attempt— Works which the enthusiast would perform with love. Youth should be awed, religiously possessed With a conviction of the power that waits On knowledge, when sincerely sought and prized For its own sake, on glory and on praise If but by labour won, and fit to endure The passing day; should learn to put aside Her trappings here, should strip them off abashed Before antiquity and stedfast truth And strong book-mindedness; and over all A healthy sound simplicity should reign, A seemly plainness, name it what you will, Republican or pious.
The Moon: Earth's Nearest Neighbor (Kid Genius Book 3) - Kindle edition by Matt Fields. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores their So since I liked Bernd Heinrich's Mind of the Raven and his other books on .. The author reminded me of a kid writing a term paper and padding things .. perch on barbed wire fences near minefields, they just have to wait for dinner to explode.
If these thoughts Are a gratuitous emblazonry That mocks the recreant age we live in, then Be Folly and False-seeming free to affect Whatever formal gait of discipline Shall raise them highest in their own esteem— Let them parade among the Schools at will, But spare the House of God. Was ever known The witless shepherd who persists to drive A flock that thirsts not to a pool disliked? A weight must surely hang on days begun And ended with such mockery.
Be wise, Ye Presidents and Deans, and, till the spirit Of ancient times revive, and youth be trained At home in pious service, to your bells Give seasonable rest, for 'tis a sound Hollow as ever vexed the tranquil air; And your officious doings bring disgrace On the plain steeples of our English Church, Whose worship, 'mid remotest village trees, Suffers for this. Even Science, too, at hand In daily sight of this irreverence, Is smitten thence with an unnatural taint, Loses her just authority, falls beneath Collateral suspicion, else unknown.
This truth escaped me not, and I confess, That having 'mid my native hills given loose To a schoolboy's vision, I had raised a pile Upon the basis of the coming time, That fell in ruins round me. Oh, what joy To see a sanctuary for our country's youth Informed with such a spirit as might be Its own protection; a primeval grove, Where, though the shades with cheerfulness were filled, Nor indigent of songs warbled from crowds In under-coverts, yet the countenance Of the whole place should bear a stamp of awe; A habitation sober and demure For ruminating creatures; a domain For quiet things to wander in; a haunt In which the heron should delight to feed By the shy rivers, and the pelican Upon the cypress spire in lonely thought Might sit and sun himself.
In vain for such solemnity I looked; Mine eyes were crossed by butterflies, ears vexed By chattering popinjays; the inner heart Seemed trivial, and the impresses without Of a too gaudy region. Different sight Those venerable Doctors saw of old, When all who dwelt within these famous walls Led in abstemiousness a studious life; When, in forlorn and naked chambers cooped And crowded, o'er the ponderous books they hung Like caterpillars eating out their way In silence, or with keen devouring noise Not to be tracked or fathered.
Princes then At matins froze, and couched at curfew-time, Trained up through piety and zeal to prize Spare diet, patient labour, and plain weeds. O seat of Arts! Far different service in those homely days The Muses' modest nurslings underwent From their first childhood: But peace to vain regrets!