Keeping a few hens was once only for rural dwellers with big yards - or inner-city hippies. Now it's mainstream and an attractive proposition wherever you live. Fluffy little recycling units that eat weeds, bugs and scraps and turn them into organic eggs - what's not to love? Chickens are great backyard pets for young and old - they're a natural extension for everyone with a vegie patch, and for those who like eggs but are concerned about the welfare of commercial hens. This book is the perfect reference, whether you're already keeping chickens or an absolute beginner thinking about getting a couple of chooks. Dave Ingham offers compulsively readable advice on how to start, housing and feeding, settling chickens in with other pets, troubleshooting, and the (minimal) commitment required to keep your backyard hens healthy and happy.
Penguins are among the world's most beloved birds. In this enchanting guide, Matt Sewell captures 50 species of penguins and other sea bird favorites like puffins and albatrosses. From the Little Penguin, who is only 13 inches tall, to the Fiordland Crested Penguin, who sports bushy yellow eyebrows, these charismatic birds are sure to delight both young and old.
- This stunning anthology of wildlife photographs captures emperor penguins in their natural habitat in the Antarctic - Incredible pictures reveal both the harshness of the environment and the day-to-day life of the colony - Narrates the penguins' long journey across the sea ice and the immense effort it takes for human photographers to follow them - Foreword by Michael Palin, who accompanied the author on one of her Antarctic expeditions "Sue Flood is one of the elite wildlife photographers working today. Just turn over a few pages of this breath-taking book and you will see what I mean." - Michael Palin Emperor: The Perfect Penguin is a celebration of one of the world's most charismatic creatures. In temperatures that can reach -50 C with 150km/h winds, the emperor penguins' ability to survive and thrive is nothing short of astounding. Over the past nine years, award-winning photographer Sue Flood has journeyed to remote Antarctic penguin colonies to capture the birds in their native home. Sue Flood's respect for her subjects emanates from every page. From the poignant sight of an egg abandoned on the sea ice, to majestic shots of emperor penguins returning from the sea and heart-warming photos of chicks clustering together for warmth, every shot explores a new angle of life in this remote and ice-crusted world. As well as following the difficult journey of the penguins across the sea ice, Emperor: The Perfect Penguin narrates the hardships that must be endured to catch the perfect photograph. Sue's behind-the-scenes experiences prove that it is only with patience, endurance, and several thermal layers that one can capture magical moments on Earth's most inhospitable continent.
A bold expression of a fledgling republic's aspirations and bravado, the American bald eagle has been designed, drawn, illustrated, stamped, engraved, painted, sculpted, carved, photographed, and etched by thousands of artists and artisans since 1782, when it first appeared as the central figure on the Great Seal of the United States. As America's most versatile emblem, the eagle emanates confidence during peace and prosperity, and strength during crisis and war; as a North American native species it exemplifies nature's grandeur and the advance of conservation. In all, the bald eagle is a stirring national symbol made all the more vibrant by its indisputable dominion in the sky. American Eagle: A Visual History of Our National Emblem is a visual survey that explores the eagle in American life. A remarkable book that represents American culture, politics, and history, American Eagle will be the definitive source of this national icon for generations to come.
The predecessor to Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk, T. H. White's nature writing classic, The Goshawk, asks the age-old question: what is it that binds human beings to other animals? White, the author of The Once and Future King and Mistress Masham's Repose, was a young writer who found himself rifling through old handbooks of falconry. A particular sentence--"the bird reverted to a feral state"--seized his imagination, and, White later wrote, "A longing came to my mind that I should be able to do this myself. The word 'feral' has a kind of magical potency which allied itself to two other words, 'ferocious' and 'free.'" Immediately, White wrote to Germany to acquire a young goshawk. Gos, as White named the bird, was ferocious and Gos was free, and White had no idea how to break him in beyond the ancient (and, though he did not know it, long superseded) practice of depriving him of sleep, which meant that he, White, also went without rest. Slowly man and bird entered a state of delirium and intoxication, of attraction and repulsion that looks very much like love.
White kept a daybook describing his volatile relationship with Gos--at once a tale of obsession, a comedy of errors, and a hymn to the hawk. It was this that became The Goshawk, one of modern literature's most memorable and surprising encounters with the wilderness--as it exists both within us and without.
A comprehensive natural history of nature's smallest bird species.
"The spectacular photography of Michael and Patricia Fogden reveals the diversity, beautiful colors and movement of these unique birds."
-- Publishers Weekly
The tiny hummingbird has long been a source of fascination for birdwatchers and naturalists alike. They number 300 species and Ronald Orenstein has a passion for all of them.
Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. A hummingbird egg is the size of a pea, barely, and the chick that emerges will be smaller than a penny, if that. But these tiny birds pack a powerful engine: a hummingbird's heart beats more than 1,200 times per minute.
Nicknamed the "avian helicopter," a hummingbird's wings beat from 70 times per second in direct flight, to more than 200 times per second when diving. Not surprisingly, that whirlwind of wing power creates a humming sound. To fuel such energy, hummingbirds must eat as much as eight times their body weight on a daily basis, which means visiting an average of 1,000 flowers -- every day -- to get enough nectar.
Hummingbirds are found in North, Central and South America, with the greatest number in Ecuador, although some species breed as far north as Canada. Most species migrate from Mexico to Alaska, a distance of more than 5,000 miles. In this book Orenstein covers all aspects of hummingbird natural history, their relationship with the plants on which they feed, the miracle of their flight, their elaborate social life and nesting behavior, and their renowned feats of migration.
More than 170 color photographs of these magnificent creatures, taken in the wild, adorn the pages of Hummingbirds. Birders and natural history readers alike will gain new insight into the tiny bird and revel in the stunning images.
This is a story of a scarcely credible abundance, of flocks of birds so vast they made the sky invisible. It is also a story of a collapse into extinction so startling as to provoke a mystery. In the fate of the North American passenger pigeon we can read much of the story of wild America--the astonishment that accompanied its discovery, the allure of its natural "productions" the ruthless exploitation of its "commodities" and the ultimate betrayal of its peculiar genius. And in the bird's fate can be read, too, the essential vulnerability of species, the unpredictable passage of life itself.
On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang an improvised version of the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Sensing a kindred spirit in the plucky young bird, Mozart bought him and took him home to be a family pet. For three years, the starling lived with Mozart, influencing his work and serving as his companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.Two centuries later, starlings are reviled by even the most compassionate conservationists. A nonnative, invasive species, they invade sensitive habitats, outcompete local birds for nest sites and food, and decimate crops. A seasoned birder and naturalist, Lyanda Lynn Haupt is well versed in the difficult and often strained relationships these birds have with other species and the environment. But after rescuing a baby starling of her own, Haupt found herself enchanted by the same intelligence and playful spirit that had so charmed her favorite composer. In Mozart's Starling, Haupt explores the unlikely and remarkable bond between one of history's most cherished composers and one of earth's most common birds. The intertwined stories of Mozart's beloved pet and Haupt's own starling provide an unexpected window into human-animal friendships, music, the secret world of starlings, and the nature of creative inspiration. A blend of natural history, biography, and memoir, Mozart's Starling is a tour de force that awakens a surprising new awareness of our place in the world.
The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the legendary ravens at the world's eeriest monument
The ravens at the Tower of London are of mighty importance: rumor has it that if a raven from the Tower should ever leave, the city will fall.
The title of Ravenmaster, therefore, is a serious title indeed, and after decades of serving the Queen, Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife took on the added responsibility of caring for the infamous ravens. In The Ravenmaster, he lets us in on his life as he feeds his birds raw meat and biscuits soaked in blood, buys their food at Smithfield Market, and ensures that these unusual, misunderstood, and utterly brilliant corvids are healthy, happy, and ready to captivate the four million tourists who flock to the Tower every year.
A rewarding, intimate, and inspiring partnership has developed between the ravens and their charismatic and charming human, the Ravenmaster, who shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding the ravens and the Tower. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower's true guardians really are--and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.
Identifying birds can be overwhelming. Where and how do you start? The good news is that most people already know more than they realize about birds, which can greatly simplify the identification process.
Written in a helpful, conversational style and illustrated with numerous photos, this "12-step program" starts with the basics and builds logically into a manageable framework that enables anyone to get into, or get more out of, the world of watching, identifying, and enjoying birds.
STEVE N. G. HOWELL is an international bird tour leader with WINGS, a popular speaker and trip leader at birding festivals, and author of numerous books and articles. He lives in California. BRIAN SULLIVAN works on eBird and digital publications at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He lives in California.