A vivid, eye-opening view of why birds behave the way they do
Birds are intelligent, sociable creatures that exhibit a wide array of behaviors--from mobbing and mimicking to mating and joint nesting. Why do they behave as they do? Bringing to light the remarkable actions of birds through examples from species around the world, Understanding Bird Behavior presents engaging vignettes about the private lives of birds, all explained in an evolutionary context.
We discover how birds find food, relying on foraging techniques, tools, and thievery. We learn about the courtship rituals through which birds choose, compete for, woo, and win mates; the familial conflicts that crop up among parents, offspring, and siblings; and the stresses and strains of nesting, including territory defense, nepotism, and relationship sabotage. We see how birds respond to threats and danger--through such unique practices as murmurations, specific alarm calls, distraction displays, and antipredator nest design. We also read about how birds change certain behaviors--preening, migration, breeding, and huddling--based on climate. Richly illustrated, this book explores the increasing focus on how individual birds differ in personality and how big data and citizen scientists are helping to add to what we know about them.
Drawing on classic examples and the latest research, Understanding Bird Behavior offers a close-up look at the many ways birds conduct themselves in the wild.
Wenfei Tong is a biologist, conservationist, and nature guide. She is associate editor at Nature Communications and owner of Big Sky Safaris. She is the author of Bird Love: The Family Life of Birds (Princeton).
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.