Bloomsbury £20 (437pp) £18 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Wisdom Of Birds, By Tim Birkhead
Friday 18 March 2011
In the tradition of the greatest naturalist writers, Birkhead makes his area fascinating to those who have only a mild interest.
Written in a most approachable style – Birkhead notes that we can spot the chalazae (strands that secure the yolk in an egg) "in cooked scrambled egg where they appear as unappetising nodules" – this thematic history of ornithology begins with his hero, the 17th century academic John Ray who threw out Aristotle's classification system and asked how do birds conceive and why do they lay hard-shelled eggs?
Successively exploring instinct, migration, the breeding cycle, territory and much more, every page of this book tells you something new about human perception of birds. The enthralling text is matched by the illustrations.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Before They Pass Away: In pictures
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?
Kylie Minogue, Kiss Me Once tour, London O2 - review: Pop princess still reigns supreme
Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican lead female comedy breakthrough
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >