The Genius of Birds

The Genius of Birds

Book - 2016
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Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781594205217
1594205213
Characteristics: 240 pages : illustrations
Additional Contributors: Burgoyne, John

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BillRay
Sep 03, 2020

Great book -- scientists have learned so much about what birds are capable of, most of it in the last 50 years after the anthropomorphizing taboo broke down. Ackerman does a wonderful job of describing experiments and anatomy in an engaging fashion.

LoganLib_Phoebe Aug 23, 2020

A very easy to read book about the intelligence of birds. It covers everything from the ruthlessness of the humble house sparrow to the cleverness of crows - you will be astounded by what some of these birds do.

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barhowarth
Jun 30, 2020

One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. Jaw-dropping revelations, one after another, about the superior skills and abilities of a class of animals that we tend to disregard and underestimate. When I finished it I wanted to just start it over again!

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redoute
May 05, 2020

This was a very engaging book, with just enough scientific detail to give satisfactory explanations to laypersons. I especially like how she posed broad philisophical questions that arose out of scientific observations about specific birds. Like, is there an advantage to intelligence, and is there an advantage to the creation of or the appreciation of "beauty?" (Hint: pigeons can learn to identify Renoirs and Picassos, even when they haven't seen those particular paintings before)

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Kiradoula
Oct 20, 2019

Compelling non fiction that captivates and draws you in like a great novel. Entirely accessible, Humorous at times. I highly recommend.

WCL_Kiirstin Oct 18, 2019

One of my absolute favourite books about one of my favourite topics. Birds are incredible creatures, and having read this book you will never look at them in quite the same way (and realize that they're probably looking at you, too...) Ackerman does a good job at making the science accessible; if you're looking for a slightly more advanced and more scientific book on the subject, Tim Birkhead's "Bird Sense" is the place to go next.

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Lavenderseas
Jan 08, 2018

I LOVE this book! Great read on birds! Highly recommend.

m
mjohnson313
Dec 29, 2017

A interesting ornithological tour around the globe. From racing pigeons in England to artistically inclined bowerbirds in Australia, the author does a fine job of mixing personal observation and passion with scientific exploration and discovery. Even the most basic bird-based topic (sparrows live everywhere) makes for an interesting study in avian cognition.

And that's the big takeaway here. Birds have advanced neurological processors vis a vis the rest of the animal kingdom. This book attempts to identify, describe and explain how and why some of these interesting behaviors arose, and whether or not they are instinct or intellect. Or some combination of the two. Enjoy learning more about your feathered friends, but stop there; this book doesn't have any major takeaways or applications for your own day to day life. The birds, really, don't provide us any useful insights into our own behavior.

If you're a bird lover, this is a must read. If you've caught yourself interested or entertained by the activity at a backyard feeder, this is a good weekend page turner. If you think birds are weird, well, this book might just provide all the evidence you need.

fineplan Nov 29, 2017

Utterly fascinating and it's got me seeking out more books on animal intelligence.

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DorisWaggoner
Jun 26, 2017

Not a complete description of the intelligence of birds, but a well written description of some aspects. Includes tool use; voice, including dialects; reproductive behavior; the adaptive power of certain species; bird brains; migration; the effects of global warming. Clearly Ackerman loves birds, though her approach is more journalistic than scientific--i.e. she doesn't do the science herself. I loved her punning approach to language about birds. I'd have liked maps and photos, too.

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AGoode
Feb 09, 2017

Have you ever wondered how smart birds are and how they use their intelligence? This book looks at bird intelligence, how they demonstrate it, how we measure and study it, why some birds are smarter than others, and the mysteries that still remain about bird intelligence and some extraordinary achievements by these small flying creatures. It's geared towards the interested public (including birders) and explains complex scientific concepts without dumbing it down or getting bogged by jargon.

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