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An award-winning science writer tours the globe to reveal what makes birds capable of such extraordinary feats of mental prowess Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores their newly discovered brilliance and how it came about. As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research, Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent. At once personal yet scientific, richly informative and beautifully written, The Genius of Birds celebrates the triumphs of these surprising and fiercely intelligent creatures. Ackerman is also the author of Birds by the Shore: Observing the Natural Life of the Atlantic Coast.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds, a radical investigation into the bird way of being, and the recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds -- how they live and how they think. “There is the mammal way and there is the bird way.” But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries –– What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play. Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of, well, birdness: a mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own; a bird that collaborates in an extraordinary way with one species—ours—but parasitizes another in gruesome fashion; birds that give gifts and birds that steal; birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves; birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call—and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter. Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, Jennifer Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It is what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.
A New York Times bestseller: "A passionate and convincing case for the sophistication of nonhuman minds." —Alison Gopnik, The Atlantic Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition—in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos—to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.
Did you know that you can tell time in your sleep? That women have more nightmares than men? Or that up to half of the calories you consume can be burned off simply by fidgeting? In Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream, acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ackerman takes us on an astonishing and illuminating tour of the human body during a typical day, from waking in the morning to the reverie of sleep and dreams. Most of us are familiar with the concept of circadian rhythms, the idea that the human body maintains its own internal clock. Recent scientific advances reveal the importance of synchronizing our actions with our biological rhythms — and show how defying them can cause us real harm. With Ackerman as our guide we learn the best time of day to take a nap, give a presentation, take medication, and even drink a cocktail, along with a host of other useful and curious facts. Entertaining and deeply practical, this book will make readers think of their bodies in an entirely new way.
An inspiring message for all ages: Find your inner bird. If you’re looking for wisdom and joy in your life, go straight to Sesame Street and heed the words of its most beloved and profound resident, Caroll Spinney, who has spent the past thirty-four years in a bird costume (and a trash can) as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Three decades inside a giant puppet have taught Spinney a valuable and surprising lesson: Being a bird can make you a better person. In The Wisdom of Big Bird, the living legend of Sesame Street describes how we can all find our inner bird (or grouch). Each chapter illustrates a piece of useful wisdom Spinney has gleaned from a career in feathers. The lessons Big Bird teaches children every day on Sesame Street are the same ones that have brought Spinney success and satisfaction in his own life. Warm, witty, and affirming, Caroll Spinney’s memoir proves that being a bird can make you a better and happier person. “Every day on Sesame Street, we strive to give our innocent young audience the basis of a lifelong education. It is no accident that spending the past thirty-four years in the Bird suit teaching these lessons to others has taught me a few things, too.”—from The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch)
That's something to crow about! Learn all about these genius birds in Kyla Vanderklugt's Science Comics: Crows, the latest volume in First Second’s action-packed nonfiction graphic novel series for middle-grade readers! Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic—dinosaurs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, robots, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you! Did you know that crows make their own tools, lead complex social lives, and never forget a human face? Scientists are just beginning to unlock the secrets of the crow's brain to discover how these avian Einsteins can be as smart as some primates, and even perform some of the same cognitive feats as human children! Crows have problem-solving skills that will make you you rethink what it means to be a bird brain!
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.
For readers of Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz, this New York Times bestseller offers mesmerizing insights into the interior lives of our smartest pets In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare, have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom. This dog genius revolution is transforming how we live and work with our canine friends, including how we train them. Does your dog feel guilt? Is she pretending she can't hear you? Does she want affection—or just your sandwich? In The Genius of Dogs, Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods lay out what discoveries at the Duke Canine Cognition Lab and other research facilities around the world are revealing about how your dog thinks and how we humans can have even deeper relationships with our best four-legged friends.