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Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife

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Overview

Have you ever seen a flying squirrel flapping through the air, watched a beaver carrying a load of mud on its tail, or ducked when a porcupine started throwing its quills? Probably not, says Warner Shedd, debunking these and many more popular myths about our animal friends in Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind. In this charming and eminently readable biology lesson, Warner Shedd, former regional executive for the National Wildlife Federation, offers scientific evidence that refutes many of the most ...
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Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife

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Overview

Have you ever seen a flying squirrel flapping through the air, watched a beaver carrying a load of mud on its tail, or ducked when a porcupine started throwing its quills? Probably not, says Warner Shedd, debunking these and many more popular myths about our animal friends in Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind. In this charming and eminently readable biology lesson, Warner Shedd, former regional executive for the National Wildlife Federation, offers scientific evidence that refutes many of the most tenacious and persevering folklore about wild animals. Full of humorous anecdotes and fascinating facts about more than thirty North American species, Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind is an entertaining dose of scientific reality for any nature enthusiast or armchair adventurer.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Crammed with scientifically impeccable detail about both familiar and mysterious beasts and birds. Anyone with a yen for understanding the fauna of the neighborhood and beyond will find delights here."
-- Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun

"Consider Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind a must-have if you intend to wander about outdoors this summer . . ."
-- Marta Salij, Chicago Tribune

"Anyone who loves animals will bark and hoot about this charming book."
-- Detroit Free Press

"Wildlife myths are fun, but Warner Shedd uses the skills and experience of a trained naturalist to make the facts even more fascinating. This will find a place alongside treasured field guides on the bookshelves of wildlife enthusiasts everywhere."
-- Patrick Leahy, Vermont State Senator

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Owls can't learn beans compared with ravens and jays; they are, however, "superb killing machines," with "virtually silent flight" and wonderful ears--"sightless owls can catch mice by sound alone." Combining reader-friendly wildlife biology and ecology with the folklore of the New England woods, Shedd (who runs the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation) uses common mistakes as springboards for 24 entertaining essays about the real lives, habits and characteristics of various well-known animals. Most concern mammals, from weasels to white-tailed deer, though "The Newt and the Red Eft" get a chapter to themselves, or to itself (the two names describe pond- and land-dwelling stages of the same animal). Moose, it turns out, gained in numbers in northeastern forests after timber companies' clear-cuts created vast "moose pastures" of young trees. Flying squirrels are really gliding squirrels, and during the winter up to eight shack up together. Shedd's helpful chapter on cougars distinguishes the Florida panther (endangered) from its cousins in the Western U.S. (fierce and thriving) and their surviving cousins in the Northeast (mostly mythical--though some poor souls, returning from the mountain states, have brought home cougar kittens as pets). Cougars (like most big cats) don't chase their prey: stalking and pouncing, they rely on surprise instead. Hikers, forest fans, armchair naturalists and others who enjoy these kinds of facts can find plenty more here on bisons, beavers, badgers, bears and other North American creatures (many elegantly depicted in illustrations by Trudy Nicholson). As for those titular bats, "most actually see quite well," though their amazing sonar system, as Shedd describes it, serves most of their in-flight needs. Agent, Linda Roghaar. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
The wise old owl isn't really wise, and the expression "blind as a bat" is nonsense because bats actually have very good vision. The clever coyote deserves his nickname "wily," however, and opossums really do go into a trancelike state when frightened. This book takes several of our commonly held beliefs about wildlife and gives us the real story behind each--often quite different from what we've always believed! Shedd, a naturalist whose articles have appeared in Sports Afield and Outdoor Life, serves as director of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation. He gives us the real scoop on the habits and lifestyles of 27 common North American animals and makes it an entertaining read by including personal anecdotes of his encounters with many of these creatures. Recommended for public libraries, this will be a favorite with wildlife enthusiasts everywhere.--Deborah Emerson, Leroy V. Good Lib., Monroe Community Coll., Rochester, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-Shedd discusses myths about common North American fauna, including squirrels (red, gray, and flying), bears (black, grizzly, and polar), wolves, beavers, badgers, weasels, bats, owls, porcupine, opossum, bison, deer, coyote, and others. The factual text is interspersed with the author's personal experiences with these animals. He provides basic information about each creature before proceeding to expose the truth behind the folk story, such as "beavers pack mud with their tails" or "newborn fawns have no scent." This is a good resource for short reports, to round out longer reports with a different perspective, or simply to browse for pleasure. The author's style is chatty and entertaining without losing clarity or obscuring factual detail. He emphasizes having respect for the wildness of wildlife and repeatedly cautions readers from attempting to interact with wild animals. A great book for nature lovers.-Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Entertaining squelchings of wildlife humbuggery from former National Wildlife Federation executive Shedd. It is time for our warped ideas of wildlife to be straightened out, declares Shedd in his engaging and conversational tone, time to weed out those heinous lies that keep us from communing on a deeper level with the armadillo, muskat, heron, moose, or bear. Shedd has not gathered a rogue's gallery of sideshow freaks or microscopic critters, verminous or venomous, but rather a company of familiar animals that has been given a bad rap. It doesn't take him long to point out that a red squirrels do not castrate gray squirrels, or that flying squirrels can't fly, or that the moose is not very happy to be petted. Some of these myths surrounding animals surely don't need to be debunked—that weasels kill for the love of it, for example, or that a crow can "imitate a human voice better if its tongue is split"—for it is hard to believe they were bunked to begin with. Others are highly subjective (toads may indeed be repulsive to some, contrary to Shedd's assertion that they are not ugly), while still others are more in the nature of quibbles than errors (for instance, that a porcupine's quills don't have barbs but overlapping scales). So Shedd has some time on his hands here and he uses it wisely, more interestingly and valuably, to sketch quick portraits of these animals, some three dozen, yielding a primer on habitat, behavior, and the niches they have carved for themselves. He includes those little quirks that make them so appealing: how the eft got its name and why we call it a newt, when it is better to be a marten than a fisher, why thelynxhas tufts on its ears. Shedd succeeds in his self-appointed task as public relations man for besmirched wildlife reputations, erasing the distaste we might harbor for these otherwise captivating animals. (27 b&w line drawings)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609807972
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/31/2001
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 791,273
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

WARNER SHEDD is the director of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation and a former executive for the National Wildlife Federation, the nation's largest private conservation organization. His articles have appeared in Sports Afield, Vermont Life, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and other publications. He lives in Vermont.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2001

    Transplanted Michigan Resident

    The book is a fascinating look at our nations most popular wildlife and some of the many myths the public has. The author does a marvelous job of blending factual and scientific information, with personal experiences in a very easy to understand way. The book will provide many hours of enjoyable reading and is a must for any wildlife buff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2000

    Nature's Truths told by a Natural Storyteller

    For those who enjoy knowing the truth about wildlife and like to learn in a refreshing way, this book is the answer. This naturalist shares his vast knowledge and expertise giving great detail about his wildlife subjects, yet doing so in a conversational way. You feel as if you are sitting around the fireplace learning details about animals from the voice of a warm storyteller. Yet the information in this book is thorough and very useful. The index is extremely helpful in finding the answers to quick questions. What a great reference for wildlife detail. Of particular interest among the many myths and fallacies covered in this book was the information on bison (not buffalo), moose, owls and beaver. This treasure of a book is a joy to read from cover to cover.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Russia

    Angels tried to k me do that on textplus i hated it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Romania

    Fine whatever dont even give it a chance. Bye.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews

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