Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur (t)
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Sy Montgomery
- Publish Date: 2010-04-06
Meet the ladies: a flock of smart, affectionate, highly individualistic chickens who visit their favorite neighbors, devise different ways to hide from foxes, and mob the author like sheâs a rock star. In these pages youâll also meet Maya and Zuni, two orphaned baby hummingbirds who hatched from eggs the size of navy beans, and who are little more than air bubbles fringed with feathers. Their lives hang precariously in the balanceâbut with human help, they may one day conquer the sky.
Snowball is a cockatoo whose dance video went viral on YouTube and whoâs now teaching schoolchildren how to dance. Youâll meet Harrisâs hawks named Fire and Smoke. And youâll come to know and love a host of other avian characters who will change your mind forever about who birds really are.
Each of these birds shows a different and utterly surprising aspect of what makes a bird a birdâand these are the lessons of Birdology: that birds are far stranger, more wondrous, and at the same time more like us than we might have dared to imagine. In Birdology, beloved author of The Good Good Pig Sy Montgomery explores the essence of the otherworldly creatures we see every day. By way of her adventures with seven birdsâwild, tame, exotic, and commonâshe weaves new scientific insights and narrative to reveal seven kernels of bird wisdom.
The first lesson of Birdology is that, no matter how common they are, Birds Are Individuals, as each of Montgomeryâs distinctive Ladies clearly shows. In the leech-infested rain forest of Queensland, youâll come face to face with a cassowaryâa 150-pound, man-tall, flightless bird with a helmet of bone on its head and a slashing razor-like toenail with which it (occasionally) eviscerates peopleâproof that Birds Are Dinosaurs. Youâll learn from hawks that Birds Are Fierce; from pigeons, how Birds Find Their Way Home; from parrots, what it means that Birds Can Talk; and from 50,000 crows who moved into a small cityâs downtown, that Birds Are Everywhere. They are the winged aliens who surround us.
Birdology explains just how very other birds are: Their hearts look like those of crocodiles. They are covered with modified scales, which are called feathers. Their bones are hollow. Their bodies are permeated with extensive air sacs. They have no hands. They give birth to eggs. Yet despite birdsâ and humansâ disparate evolutionary paths, we share emotional and intellectual abilities that allow us to communicate and even form deep bonds. When we begin to comprehend who birds really are, we deepen our capacity to approach, understand, and love these otherworldly creatures. And this, ultimately, is the priceless lesson of Birdology: it communicates a heartfelt fascination and awe for birds and restores our connection to these complex, mysterious fellow creatures.