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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

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  • Posted June 12, 2010

    Packed with interesting, little-known facts, lovely people, and adventures!

    Sy Montgomery has a real knack for writing the kind of non-fiction books I love to read. They are always packed with interesting, little-known facts, lovely people, and the adventures Sy always seems to have whenever she is researching a book. Birdology does not disappoint! Each chapter is about a different species of bird that illustrates and essential characteristic of the species. Along the way I meet pigeon racers, falconers, and wildlife rehabilitators. I fell in love with the birds - the Ladies, Sy's pack of hens, Maya and Zuni, two baby hummingbirds, Snowball, the dancing cockatoo, and so many others. The personal stories and vignettes were so entertaining and skillfully written that I was almost to the end of the book before the hidden agenda was revealed. As the last sentence of the book reads, "It is our duty and privilege to protect them." Beatifully written, easy to read and entertaining, educational. and with an important message - I'm not sure how Sy Montgomery packed so many things into this book, but it is well worth the read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    Birdology is a wonderful book! A truly unique perspective on birds, and beautifully written.

    I have read all of author/naturalist Sy Montgomery's books. In Birdology, Montgomery manages again to do what she does so well: to blend extensive information about animals with enormous empathy for them, with unusual insights into their lives derived from her personal experiences with diverse creatures. Birdology looks at the lives and abilities and evolution of birds from this unique perspective, using several particular species as exemplars. Along the way one also learns about her adventures while exploring the avian world. This is a wonderfully engaging book; I enjoyed it very much, and highly recommend it to all!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    Fly to B&N for Birdology

    On NPR, I had heard Sy Montgomery, the author of Birdology, discussing the feathered muses for her book, and I couldn't wait to read about the "personal" stories of her select birds. When I did, I chuckled as I learned juicy tidbits about the inner workings of their bright little minds. She makes her subjects come alive in a way that shows each creature is unique and leads me to forget they're not human. I also love that I can read about individual adventures as the spirit moves me rather than need to commit to reading the book from cover to cover.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Experience birdology

    Sy Montgomery's latest offering weaves journalistic inquiry and wonderful anecdotes together as proof that birds deserve far more credit than most people give them.

    This entertaining, well paced book shares fascinating facts about chickens, cassowaries (large, flightless birds of the South Pacific--this was perhaps the creepiest and most tortuous chapter), hummingbirds, hawks, pigeons, parrots and crows. Readers are engaged from the first paragraph, drawn in emotionally and in a joyful spirit of wonder. Scientists and skeptics beware: you'll find yourselves saying 'Wow!" out loud as you read.

    As I write this review, there is a Hahn's Macaw on my left shoulder, happily engaged in his own activities, turning toward me every few minutes to utter a clearly spoken, contextually relevant statement or make a gesture of pure affection and caring. Three years ago, before I was adopted by parrots, had anyone approached me suggesting any bird species was capable of the complexity of relationship, cognition and feeling to which this scene bears witness I would have grimaced and called them anthropomorphic. Perhaps worse. How wrong I was.

    birdology gives the reader this same learning experience: the excitement at interaction to the degree the birds, themselves, permit, the requisite analysis, the sometimes shared emotion. A cassowary can attack and do a human adult quite a mischief. Chickens can go visiting neighbors by concensus. Crows can use and teach conditional logic, and intentionally modify human behavior at traffic signals as a step in achieving their desired outcome. Pigeons nearly identical to those reviled in public parks astonish us with their speed and geomagnetic sensitivity ...and win our hearts with their indelible passion for going home. And parrots dance and sing and speak with demonstrable comprehension, with such intelligent specificity, that the pejorative 'parroting' is nothing short of blasphemy.

    Sy Montgomery is to be commended for including just enough science and short enough storytelling that one wishes for more of both. She also deserves applause for making a subtle yet compelling case for vegetarianism.

    If you liked Irene Pepperberg's "Alex and Me" or Stacey O'Brien's "Wesley the Owl" you simply must own this book. If you love reading about animals, nature, or spirituality, experience birdology.

    Who knows? Because of birdology, you may dance with a parrot soon, and know you are very fortunate, indeed.

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    Posted August 24, 2010

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