The Magic and Mystery of Birds

Noah Strycker

Product Description

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 to 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, we ultimately learn about ourselves by studying birds.

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, or on Twitter via @NoahStrycker. To visit Noah’s website, go to

Extraordinary Praise for The Magic and Mystery of Birds:

“Illuminates something profound about all life, including our own.”
‘The Economist’

“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.”
‘BBC Countryfile’

“Full of anecdote and quirky detail, The Magic & Mystery of Birds educates and entertains in equal and enthralling measure.”

Mr. Strycker has the ability to write about the worlds of man and fowl without simplifying either…. He thinks like a biologist but writes like a poet… Part the palm fronds behind his sentences, and you can almost see the British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough standing there in a pith helmet, smiling with amused approval at Mr. Strycker’s off-center sensibility.”
‘Wall Street Journal’

“Engaging and informative… Both charming for ornithological tourists and useful for serious researchers and behaviourists… Return(s) us to that original sense of wonder that brought many of us to the work of understanding ourselves and the living world around us in the first place.”
‘International Journal of Avian Science’

“Each chapter is a fascinating and interesting self-contained essay on a different aspect of bird behaviour, with a wealth of scientific evidence and interesting facts… this book is a must read.”
‘The Compost Bin’

“An account of the lives of birds, and draws intriguing parallels with our own world, as well as possible lessons we can learn from our feathered friends.”

“A new and unexamined perspective of birds and their startling resemblance to humans… A pleasing combination of tongue-in-cheek humour and historical events that pinpoint the more peculiar aspects of bird behaviour.”
‘Scots Heritage Magazine’

“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, Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

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