The Magic and Mystery of Birds
Why do birds do what they do, and how do they offer a glimpse into the nature of humanity?
From the life-long relationships of the albatross, the remarkable memory of the nutcracker and other avian mysteries Noah Strycker illuminates the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans.
“In almost any realm of bird behaviour – reproduction, populations, movements, daily rhythms, communication, navigation, intelligence, and so on – there are deep and meaningful parallels with our own.”
Noah Strycker has spent the last decade studying bird behaviour in some of the world’s remotest places – from a penguin colony in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, the Australian outback, the Galápagos Islands – and has observed almost 2,500 species of birds. Noah has come to understand that birds are lively, unpredictable individuals loaded with personality and, if you look closely enough, birds have human counterparts.
From the homing instinct of pigeons (and the mystery of the pigeon equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle in eastern England) and testing the turkey vulture’s sense of smell with a deer carcass, to the reason behind a penguin’s fear of water and lack of fear of humans, even the courtship rituals of Australia’s winged Casanova, the bowerbird, by studying birds, we ultimately learn about ourselves. As we learn about birds, we gain insights into memory, relationships, game theory and the nature of intelligence itself.
Drawing on cutting-edge scientific research, along with his personal experience, and colourful anecdotes The Magic and Mystery of Birds is a thoughtful and engaging look at how the life of birds connects with humanity.
Noah Strycker is a photographer, writer and associate editor of Birding magazine. He has been an on-board ornithologist on a cruise ship in Antarctica, and has also written for a wide variety of bird magazines. He is also the author of Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica.
This year, Noah is travelling through 35 countries on all seven continents, hoping to see at least 5000 species of birds and set a new world record. You can follow his adventures via his blog, www.audubon.org/noah or on Twitter via @NoahStrycker. To visit Noah’s website, go to noahstrycker.com.
“Asking searching questions about why birds behave as they do, he offers poetic insights into our own existence… And what he has to tell us is fascinating.”
“Illuminates something profound about all life, including our own.”
“This beautifully written book is a treasure trove of information on the avian world, from the life-long relationship of the albatross to the remarkable memory of the nutcracker.”
“Full of anecdote and quirky detail, The Magic & Mystery of Birds educates and entertains in equal and enthralling measure.”
“He thinks like a biologist but writes like a poet.”
‘Wall Street Journal’
“A work of dazzling range, nimbly written.”
Brian Kimberling, author of Snapper
“I’ve read books about birds all of my life and this is the one I’ve been waiting for … At last we have a book worthy of this subject.”
Mary Pipher, author of The Green Boat
“You don’t have to be an avid bird watcher to enjoy this book, just someone curious to learn a little more about our feathered friends.”
Rosie Amber, Rose Amber’s Book Review Team