A Short Philosophy of Birds by Philippe J. Dubois and Elise Rousseau

Staff Pick

What happens when a philosopher and an ornithologist collaborate? Philippe J. Dubois and Elise Rousseau use the lens of bird behavior to present a deep examination of what it means to be human. Newly translated from the French by Jennifer Higgins, A Short Philosophy of Birds (Dey Street, $19.99) touches on equality, family, love, beauty, freedom, power, pleasure, otherness, death, and more. Some philosophical questions must be asked anew by each generation and some questions are of emerging importance. To the question of freedom, the authors point to hens and doves who, when allowed complete freedom, stay near their coops. To the question of gender equality in parenting—a matter seldom considered by many generations of male philosophers—Dubois and Rousseau point to the sandpiper, who lays two separate clutches of eggs, one for her to raise, and one to be raised by her mate, creating two independent "households." This unique, trim volume is an antidote to the unexamined life and a balm for the nature lover or those fed up with human behavior.

A Short Philosophy of Birds By Philippe J. Dubois, Elise Rousseau Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062945679
Availability: Backordered
Published: Dey Street Books - September 24th, 2019

Mozart's Starling - Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Staff Pick
The beauty found in what is common is the theme of Lyanda Lynn Haupt's Mozart's Starling.  The author rescues an orphaned starling chick; soon a bond develops between her and one of these unloveliest of birds.  Haupt interweaves that story with an account of Mozart's pet starling, and what that can say about the way his music can still touch us: "Mozart's truest elegy for his small friend [was] to disturb us out of complacency: to show us the wild, imperfect murmuring harmony of the world we inhabit; to draw our own lives into the song.”

The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature's Most Elusive Birds - Leigh Calvez

Staff Pick

Owls have been on Earth for 67 million years, and there are (as far as we know) 642 owl species and subspecies. Calvez, a naturalist and writer usually specializing in whales and dolphins, was suddenly smitten by these nocturnal birds of prey, and her charming book is her effort to discover “what does it mean to be an owl? What do they know?” Assisted by graceful pen-and-ink portraits of the birds by Tony Angell, Calvez introduces eleven types, from the Flammulated and Snowy Owls to Northern Pygmies and Burrowing Owls. She describes the “engineering” that makes them such superb hunters, maps their extraordinary long flights, and, sadly, reports their declining populations.

The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature's Most Elusive Birds By Leigh Calvez Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632170255
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sasquatch Books - August 16th, 2016