A bee-eater consumes some 200 bees a day to survive. The tailorbird uses its beak and spider webs to sew leaves together for its nest. In owls, one ear is higher and bigger than the other to sharpen hearing. Collectively, a bird’s feathers weigh more than all its bones. And in the next few decades, one of every nine species of bird may go extinct. These are just some of the facts Colin Tudge has gathered in his capacious, enthusiastic study, The Bird (Crown, $30). He shows how birds nest and mate and he explains the difference between calls and songs. He includes lessons in taxonomy and surveys the 31 orders into which the world’s 10,500 species of birds are organized. He explains what little we understand about migration, and describes scientific debates over the relationship between birds and dinosaurs and how birds think. He lays out the arguments for seeing birds in a spirit of Darwinian competitiveness as opposed to one of mutually beneficial cooperation. As he did in The Tree, Tudge assembles a huge amount of information into a compelling narrative.
The Bird: A Natural History of Who Birds Are, Where They Came From, and How They Live - Colin Tudge
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Crown - September 7th, 2010