Author: Bernd Brunner
Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd
"An exquisitely beautiful book ...These stories about birds are ultimately reflections on the curious nature of humanity itself" — Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk There is no denying that many people are crazy for birds. Packed with intriguing facts and exquisite and rare artwork, Birdmania showcases an eclectic and fascinating selection of bird devotees who would do anything for their feathered friends. In addition to well-known enthusiasts such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, and Helen Macdonald, Brunner introduces readers to Karl Russ, the pioneer of "bird rooms", who had difficulty renting lodgings when landlords realized who he was; George Lupton, a wealthy Yorkshire lawyer, who commissioned the theft of uniquely patterned eggs every year for twenty years from the same unfortunate female guillemot who never had a chance to raise a chick; George Archibald, who performed mating dances for an endangered whooping crane called Tex to encourage her to lay; and Mervyn Shorthouse, who posed as a wheelchair-bound invalid to steal an estimated ten thousand eggs from the Natural History Museum in Tring. As this book illustrates, people who love birds, whether they are amateurs or professionals, are as captivating and varied as the birds that give flight to their dreams.
Author: Lars Jonsson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
In this stunning book, Lars Jonsson celebrates and explores the beauty of the birds that surround him during the Swedish winter months. Inspired by the desolate, wintry landscapes, the dazzling light and the stark contract of colours he observes against the snow, Jonsson has created an unparalleled collection of art. Jonsson illustrates each bird in his classic style, and his text provides information on their behaviour and insights into how to identify them as he shares personal observations as both an artist and ornithologist. This unique combination offers an intimate and compelling opportunity to better understand the method behind one of the world's preeminent bird artists.
'A magical book: an inimitable fusion of ornithology, literary anthology and autobiography.' Tom Holland When Alex Preston was 15, he stopped being a birdwatcher. Adolescence and the scorn of his peers made him put away his binoculars, leave behind the hides and the nature reserves and the quiet companionship of his fellow birders. His love of birds didn't disappear though. Rather, it went underground, and he began birdwatching in the books that he read, creating his own personal anthology of nature writing that brought the birds of his childhood back to brilliant life. Looking for moments 'when heart and bird are one', Preston weaves the very best writing about birds into a personal and eccentric narrative that is as much about the joy of reading and writing as it is about the thrill of wildlife. Moving from the 'high requiem' of Keats's nightingale to the crow-strewn sky at the end of Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, from Ted Hughes's brooding 'Hawk in the Rain' to the giddy anthropomorphism of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, this is a book that will make you look at birds, at the world, in a newer, richer light. Beautifully illustrated and illuminated by the celebrated graphic artist Neil Gower, As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a book to love and to hold, to return to again and again, to marvel at the way that authors across the centuries have captured the endless grace and variety of birds. 'A joyful and a wondrous book' the Guardian
The Meaning of Birds
Author: Simon Barnes
Publisher: Pegasus Books
A gorgeously illustrated and enchanting examination of the lives of birds, illuminating their wondrous world and our connection with them. One of our most eloquent nature writers offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in. As well as exploring how birds achieve the miracle of flight; why birds sing; what they tell us about the seasons of the year and what their presence tells us about the places they inhabit, The Meaning of Birds muses on the uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese, and the strangeness of feeling sentimental about blue tits while enjoying a chicken sandwich. From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Charles Darwin toward his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of contemporary climate change, Simon Barnes explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a bird—and the myriad ways in which birds can help us understand the meaning of life.
Welcome to Subirdia
Author: John M. Marzluff
Publisher: Yale University Press
Welcome to Subirdia presents a surprising discovery: the suburbs of many large cities support incredible biological diversity. Populations and communities of a great variety of birds, as well as other creatures, are adapting to the conditions of our increasingly developed world. In this fascinating and optimistic book, John Marzluff reveals how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors. Over many years of research and fieldwork, Marzluff and student assistants have closely followed the lives of thousands of tagged birds seeking food, mates, and shelter in cities and surrounding areas. From tiny Pacific wrens to grand pileated woodpeckers, diverse species now compatibly share human surroundings. By practicing careful stewardship with the biological riches in our cities and towns, Marzluff explains, we can foster a new relationship between humans and other living creatures—one that honors and enhances our mutual destiny.
A New Map of Wonders
Author: Caspar Henderson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
We live in a world that is known, every corner thoroughly explored. But has this knowledge cost us the ability to wonder? Wonder, Caspar Henderson argues, is at its most supremely valuable in just such a world because it reaffirms our humanity and gives us hope for the future. That’s the power of wonder, and that’s what we should aim to cultivate in our lives. But what are the wonders of the modern world? Henderson’s brilliant exploration borrows from the form of one of the oldest and most widely known sources of wonder: maps. Large, detailed mappae mundi invited people in medieval Europe to vividly imagine places and possibilities they had never seen before: manticores with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the stinging tail of a scorpion; tribes of one-eyed men who fought griffins for diamonds; and fearsome Scythian warriors who drank the blood of their enemies from their skulls. As outlandish as these maps and the stories that went with them sound to us today, Henderson argues that our views of the world today are sometimes no less incomplete or misleading. Scientists are only beginning to map the human brain, for example, revealing it as vastly more complex than any computer we can conceive. Our current understanding of physical reality is woefully incomplete. A New Map of Wonders explores these and other realms of the wonderful, in different times and cultures and in the present day, taking readers from Aboriginal Australian landscapes to sacred sites in Great Britain, all the while keeping sight questions such as the cognitive basis of wonder and the relationship between wonder and science. Beautifully illustrated and written with wit and moral complexity, this sequel to The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is a fascinating account of the power of wonder and an unforgettable meditation on its importance to our future.
Birding Without Borders
Author: Noah Strycker
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In 2015, Noah Strycker, a young American birder, became the first person to see more than half of the 10,000 bird species on planet Earth in one year. Traveling to forty-one countries on seven continents with just a small backpack, a pair of binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, Noah not only set a new world record, he also captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world.
Birds of Venezuela
Author: Steven L. Hilty
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Venezuela has an immensely rich bird fauna, with 1,381 known species, many of them found nowhere else in the world. This spectacularly illustrated, comprehensive, and up-to-date guide brings together under one cover much of what is known about these species. Its users can identify all the birds in this vast country, from the Caribbean coast in the north to the Amazonian jungles in the south, from the Andes in the west to the Gran Sabana plateau in the east. With a completely new text by Steven Hilty, Birds of Venezuela is a greatly expanded and thoroughly reformatted successor to the pioneering Guide to the Birds of Venezuela (Princeton,1978). It includes sixty-seven beautiful color and black-and-white plates, most by the well-known artists John Gwynne and Guy Tudor, as well as numerous line drawings. The plates and drawings together--almost half of them never before published--depict most of Venezuela's bird species. Introductory chapters cover physical geography, climate, biogeography, vegetation and habitats, conservation, migration, and the history of ornithology in Venezuela. A gallery of forty-four stunning color habitat photos and color habitat and relief maps complete the opening section. Detailed range maps plot collection localities and sight records--a unique feature--for almost all species. Plumage descriptions are provided for each bird, as is extensive information on voice, behavior, and status. More than 800 bibliographic entries accompany the text, making this book an invaluable and broad-based reference to the avifauna of not only Venezuela but much of northern South America. Treating nearly 40 percent of the continent's bird species, Birds of Venezuela is the definitive resource for all birders with an eager eye on this splendorous country and the surrounding region. The most comprehensive, up-to-date, and best illustrated guide to the birds of Venezuela Covers all 1,381 known species and their subspecies from the Caribbean coast to the jungles of the Amazon, from the Andes to the Gran Sabana plateau--nearly 40 percent of all bird species in South America Completely new text accompanied by more than 800 bibliographic entries Strikingly illustrated with 67 color and black & white plates and numerous line drawings 44 stunning color habitat photos and color habitat and relief maps Detailed range maps for each species
Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with them. Birds, Jim Robbins posits, are our most vital connection to nature. They compel us to look to the skies, both literally and metaphorically; draw us out into nature to seek their beauty; and let us experience vicariously what it is like to be weightless. Birds have helped us in so many of our human endeavors: learning to fly, providing clothing and food, and helping us better understand the human brain and body. And they even have much to teach us about being human in the natural world. This book illuminates qualities unique to birds that demonstrate just how invaluable they are to humankind--both ecologically and spiritually. The wings of turkey buzzards influenced the Wright brothers' flight design; the chickadee's song is considered by scientists to be the most sophisticated language in the animal world and a "window into the evolution of our own language and our society"; and the quietly powerful presence of eagles in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Anacostia, in Washington, D.C., proved to be an effective method for rehabilitating the troubled young people placed in charge of their care.
Author: Daniel Stolzenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
A contemporary of Descartes and Newton, Athanasius Kircher, S. J. (1601/2–80), was one of Europe’s most inventive and versatile scholars in the baroque era. He published more than thirty works in fields as diverse as astronomy, magnetism, cryptology, numerology, geology, and music. But Kircher is most famous—or infamous—for his quixotic attempt to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs and reconstruct the ancient traditions they encoded. In 1655, after more than two decades of toil, Kircher published his solution to the hieroglyphs, Oedipus Aegyptiacus, a work that has been called “one of the most learned monstrosities of all times.” Here Daniel Stolzenberg presents a new interpretation of Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies, placing them in the context of seventeenth-century scholarship on paganism and Oriental languages. Situating Kircher in the social world of baroque Rome, with its scholars, artists, patrons, and censors, Stolzenberg shows how Kircher’s study of ancient paganism depended on the circulation of texts, artifacts, and people between Christian and Islamic civilizations. Along with other participants in the rise of Oriental studies, Kircher aimed to revolutionize the study of the past by mastering Near Eastern languages and recovering ancient manuscripts hidden away in the legendary libraries of Cairo and Damascus. The spectacular flaws of his scholarship have fostered an image of Kircher as an eccentric anachronism, a throwback to the Renaissance hermetic tradition. Stolzenberg argues against this view, showing how Kircher embodied essential tensions of a pivotal phase in European intellectual history, when pre-Enlightenment scholars pioneered modern empirical methods of studying the past while still working within traditional frameworks, such as biblical history and beliefs about magic and esoteric wisdom.
The Ocean at Home
Author: Bernd Brunner
Publisher: Reaktion Books
The mysterious world beneath the ocean’s surface and its inhabitants have captivated humanity for centuries—the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and ancient Chinese all kept fish in their homes to observe and admire. But it was not until the nineteenth-century invention of the aquarium that the deep was truly domesticated, offering the curious a chance to create an indoor exotic sea world, in miniature. In The Ocean at Home, Bernd Brunner traces the development of the aquarium from the Victorian era to the present day. Along the way, in this fascinating history, Brunner provides insight into the cultural and social circumstances that accompanied the aquarium’s swift rise in popularity. Brunner tells a compelling story of obsession, discovery, and delight—from the aquarium’s origin as a tool for scientific observation to the Victorian era’s elaborately decorated containers of curiosity, to the great public aquariums that are popular in cities around the world today. Featuring more than 100 illustrations, this updated edition of The Ocean at Home offers a colorful and captivating look at how a Victorian obsession still enchants many today. Both the owner of a humble goldfish bowl and the dazzled spectator at major public aquariums will find The Ocean at Home an appealing and knowledgable guide to the aquatic worlds we create.
One Wild Bird at a Time
Author: Bernd Heinrich
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The acclaimed scientist's encounters with individual wild birds, yielding “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insights and discoveries In his modern classics One Man’s Owl and Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich has written memorably about his relationships with wild ravens and a great horned owl. In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. There are countless books on bird behavior, but Heinrich argues that some of the most amazing bird behaviors fall below the radar of what most birds do in aggregate. Heinrich’s “passionate observations [that] superbly mix memoir and science” (New York Times Book Review) lead to fascinating questions — and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher, while bringing food to the young in their nest, is attacked by the other flycatcher nearby. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich’s cabin deliver the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings, and to make a related discovery about nest-cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground, and lands on the grass below. It can’t fly. What will happen next? Heinrich “looks closely, with his trademark ‘hands-and-knees science’ at its most engaging, [delivering] what can only be called psychological marvels of knowing” (Boston Globe). An eminent biologist shares the joys of bird-watching and how observing the anomalous behaviors of individual birds has guided his research. Heinrich (Emeritus, Biology/Univ. of Vermont; The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration, 2014, etc.) smoothly describes how studying the daily lives of birds in their natural environments allows him to experience their world vicariously. Now retired and living in a cabin in the Maine woods, he devotes himself to closely observing “his avian neighbors, visitors, and vagrants, and keep[ing] daily records throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter.” Every year, he welcomes a pair of broad-wing hawks who feast at a vernal pond populated by frogs, spring peepers, and salamanders while refurbishing their old nest. Unusually, they provide a fern cover on the nest, which they update on a daily basis after their chicks hatch. Heinrich also includes anecdotes from an earlier time when he still lived in Vermont. Awakened one morning by the loud drumming of a male woodpecker on a nearby apple tree, the author wondered if perhaps he was seeking to attract a female. Surprisingly, when a female was drawn to the sound, he stopped drumming and flew away. The same behavior was repeated the following day. The author’s observations led him to conclude that the bird's drumming was not part of a mating ritual but rather a noisy advertisement of his nest-building skills. Vireos nesting near his cabin allowed him to observe how they deliberately reduced the number of eggs they were hatching to accommodate the reduced food supply after an unseasonal freeze. Heinrich explains that bird-watching has been an important part of his life since he was a boy on his family's farm. When he was 6, they moved from Germany to Maine. Finding familiar birds nesting “immediately made this place our home,” he writes. An engaging memoir of the opportunities for doing scientific research without leaving one's own backyard. (Kirkus)
Explores the roots of the Christmas tree tradition, tracing customs from the Middle Ages to the present day to reveal how it first became part of mainstream American culture and has since become popular worldwide.
The Infinity of Lists
Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Rizzoli Intl Pubns
Reflecting on the enormous trove of human achievements at the Louvre, bestselling author and philosopher Eco embarks on an investigation of the phenomenon of cataloging and collecting. From medieval reliquaries to Andy Warhol's compulsive collecting, Eco shows how such catalogues mirror the spirit of their times.
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.