The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration - Bernd Heinrich

Along with many other biological imperatives, The Homing Instinct (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27) shapes the lives of nearly all animals. Noted biologist and author Bernd Heinrich looks at a range of birds, insects, and mammals, considering what home—as both noun and verb—means to each. “We have learned much,” he reports, and vividly describes how butterflies align their inner compass with the earth’s magnetic field—a field some birds can probably see—while night-flyers navigate by the North Star and seabirds map a kind of landscape in what to us is a watery monotony. Still, for all the observations of bees’ and cranes’ dances and the prodigious distances migratory species travel to return at the same time to the same pinpoint of ground every year, these glimpses have “left us with the mysterious, magical, and miraculous.” Heinrich preserves the magic even as he illuminates the experiments scientists have devised for investigating how living creatures, including Homo sapiens, find and make homes. In one of the greatest of these we “went to the moon but saw the Earth instead.”

The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration By Bernd Heinrich Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544484016
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Published: Mariner Books - April 21st, 2015