The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life by Bridget Stutchbury, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

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

by Bridget Stutchbury
     
 

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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

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."

Editorial Reviews

author of Of a Feather: A Brief History of Ame Scott Weidensaul

With her trademark clarity and humor, Bridget Stutchbury--'bird detective' extraordinaire--reveals avian lives of uncommon drama, rife with adultery, divorce, sibling rivalry, lying, social climbing and life-or-death marathons--a peek into a world at once familiar and wonderfully different from our own.
From the Publisher

“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.” —Library Journal

“Be warned: reading The Private Lives of Birds is likely to make you chuck in your present job to become a bird biologist. Who would have known that our beloved wild birds would turn out to be liars, cheats, and bullies? In elegant and lucid prose, Stutchbury explains why birds act the way they do.” —Glen Chilton, author of The Curse of the Labrador Duck

“The bird detective delivers in many ways, packaging facts and insights, science and adventure with a folksy delivery that never undermines the seriousness of her research.” —The Olympian (Olympia, WA)

“Stutchbury's new, informal work on bird behavior just begs to be read under a backyard tree. The book could serve as beach reading too; marine birds such as the albatross and rhinoceros auklet put in appearances.” —Susan Milius, Science News

The Private Lives of Birds is a treasure trove of fascinating insights into bird behavior…. An interesting introduction into bird biology.” —GrrlScientist, The Birdbooker Report

“Stutchbury offers a fine step-up for readers looking to move beyond folksy bird-watching memoirs and into the lives of the birds themselves.” —Booklist

“With her trademark clarity and humor, Bridget Stutchbury--‘bird detective' extraordinaire--reveals avian lives of uncommon drama, rife with adultery, divorce, sibling rivalry, lying, social climbing and life-or-death marathons--a peek into a world at once familiar and wonderfully different from our own.” —Scott Weidensaul, author of Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding

“Bridget Stutchbury dodges killer bees, wakes before dawn to follow birds through the forest, and peers through a ‘riparia-scope' at hundreds of eggs. Don't miss her stories of personal adventure and her far-reaching scientific synthesis explaining the amazing behaviors of birds and what they mean for the birds' survival and future.” —Miyoko Chu, author of Songbird Journeys

“A treasure-house of insights into the lives of birds and the glorious evolutionary energy that powers their displays and courtship--and their not infrequent infidelities.” —Graeme Gibson, author of The Bedside Book of Birds

“It's not easy to produce a specialized book that is simultaneously erudite and engrossing, but Stutchbury pulls it off for the most part . . . Stutchbury's book is packed with information, both salacious and sage.” —Quill & Quire (starred review) (review of Canadian edition, The Bird Detective)

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802778253
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
04/10/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
File size:
3 MB

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.
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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