The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human
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An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world—and deep connection with humanity.
Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As we learn more about the secrets of bird life, we are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, relationships, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself.
The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatrosses, and other mysteries—revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature.
Drawing deep from personal experience, cutting-edge science, and colorful history, Noah Strycker spins captivating stories about the birds in our midst and shares the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans. With humor, style, and grace, he shows how our view of the world is often, and remarkably, through the experience of birds. You’ve never read a book about birds like this one.
Tornado measurements in the movie Twister. Starling flocks, it turns out, are thinner than you might expect—more like a floppy pancake than a football. The pancake slides around in various directions, shifting its appearance, but generally stays parallel to the ground and maintains a constant proportional shape, no matter the size of the flock. The density of the flock is higher toward its edges—starlings are more tightly packed at the pancake’s fringes than they are in its center. And starling.
The Tricky Question of Albatross Love”) are now recognized in birds. This isn’t anthropomorphism at all; anyone who suggests otherwise is ignoring a large part of what it means to be a bird. Moreover, a wave of neurological research on people indicates that the same behaviors, when expressed in humans, may be more instinctive than many of us realize, the result of aeons of natural selection—behaviors that evolved, in other words, because they give us a survival advantage. So the perceived gap.
With the right side anesthetized did not. At about the same time that babies begin to recognize their own reflection, they start becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings of others—for instance, by showing embarrassment or trying to help a mother in distress. Gallup believed these two conditions are linked. Only by having a sense of self, he reasoned, can you make inferences about others’ thoughts and actions. Thus, only creatures with self-awareness should display gratitude, deception,.
Animal kingdom, along with other seeming acts of kindness. But the bird world doesn’t really work that way. A bird that helps feed another bird’s nestlings must be doing it for an ultimately selfish reason. In the end, its own survival must benefit. — THE MORNINGTON STUDY found that unrelated helpers are probably motivated by the prospect of inheriting a good territory. Because the supply of waterside habitat is limited, almost all of it is occupied by dominant adult fairy-wrens. Sometimes a.
Infrasound; he investigated their perception of polarized light and pioneered many studies of pigeon navigation. A neural basis for magnetic perception in pigeons was described in a 2012 Science article by Le-Qing Wu and J. David Dickman. Katrin Stapput performed the robin experiments showing the right eye’s sensitivity to magnetic fields, in 2010. Floriano Papi first proposed an “olfactory map” for pigeons in 1972; olfaction continues to be debated as it relates to navigation. Martin Wikelski.