The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

Overview

Biologist Bridget Stutchbury takes readers along on her escapades as a bird detective, stalking subjects through the woods for hours, taking blood samples from nestlings for DNA analysis, and mounting miniature tracking devices on tiny backs. She captures several young white-and-brown male purple martins and paints them the darker color of mature males to see if the painted youngsters are more successful than their unaltered peers in wresting away nest sites from older males. ...

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The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

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Overview

Biologist Bridget Stutchbury takes readers along on her escapades as a bird detective, stalking subjects through the woods for hours, taking blood samples from nestlings for DNA analysis, and mounting miniature tracking devices on tiny backs. She captures several young white-and-brown male purple martins and paints them the darker color of mature males to see if the painted youngsters are more successful than their unaltered peers in wresting away nest sites from older males. They are!

The Private Lives of Birds is a treasure trove of fascinating insights into bird behavior. But understanding the social lives of birds does much more than slake our curiosity. Aware that many birds will not occupy an area unless other birds are already there, biologists used mirrors and two-dimensional cutouts to lure Atlantic puffins to establish colonies off the coast of Maine, getting curious puffins to visit the site and linger long enough to encounter a live bird. As Stutchbury says, "Trying to save birds without understanding what makes them tick is a shot in the dark … birds are highly social, and their social needs are at least as important as their physical needs."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this extensively documented title, a biologist distills the varied lifestyles of selected wild bird species worldwide from technical scientific journal writings and her own broad experience. Her ten engaging chapters touch on such topics as females who cheat, what makes males attractive, divorce, parenting strategies, migration demands, how birds change their habits, territorial defense, aggression, killing of siblings, the functions of song, and much more. Stutchbury (biology, York Univ., Toronto; Silence of the Songbirds) has conducted field research in Pennsylvania, Panama, North Dakota, Iowa, and many other areas. She also draws heavily on others' published findings, but her entertaining anecdotes leaven the academic context of the studies she describes. VERDICT This is an excellent overview of wild bird behavior, social relationships, courtship, and breeding, which are surprisingly structured and complex. Well researched, this is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries, natural history and psychology collections, and readers with more than a superficial attraction to nature.—Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802717467
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.54 (w) x 6.46 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Bridget Stutchbury completed her Ph.D. at Yale, was a fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institute, and is now professor of biology at York University. She is affiliated with more than a dozen organizations that seek to preserve bird habitats. Her book, The Silence of the Songbirds, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1 Campaigning to a Changing American Electorate 1

2 A Theory of Information-Based Advertising 17

3 Campaigning to Ethnic and Racial Minorities in the U.S. 31

4 Candidates' Advertising Strategies 53

5 Advertising Effects on the Latino Vote 84

6 The Consequences of an Information-Based Advertising Strategy 99

7 The Future of Ethnically Targeted Campaigns 138

8 Epilogue: The 2008 Campaigns 147

Appendix A Coding the Advertisements 157

Appendix B Constructing the Ad Exposure Variable 161

Appendix C Voter Learning and Vote-Choice Model Specification 165

Notes 169

References 179

Index 191

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