Swallow and starling, puffin and peregrine, blue tit and blackcap. We use these names so often that few of us ever pause to wonder about their origins. What do they mean? Where did they come from? And who created them? The words we use to name birds are some of the most lyrical and evocative in the English language. They also tell incredible stories: of epic expeditions, fierce battles between rival ornithologists, momentous historical events and touching romantic gestures. Through fascinating encounters with birds, and the rich cast of characters who came up with their names, in Mrs Moreau's Warbler Stephen Moss takes us on a remarkable journey through time. From when humans and birds first shared the earth to our fraught present-day coexistence, Moss shows how these names reveal as much about ourselves and our relationship with the natural world as about the creatures they describe.
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and Gos was free, and White had no idea how to break him in beyond the ancient (and, though he did not know it, long superseded) practice of depriving him of sleep, which meant that he, White, also went without rest.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.
'Crow Planet' richly weaves Haupt's own 'crow stories' as well as scientific and scholarly research and the history and mythology of crows, culminating in a book that is sure to make readers see the world around them in a very different way.
With this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated guide, you'll find it easy to attract these tiny, jewel-like birds to your own yard. The Stokes Hummingbird Book provides all the information you need to bring hummingbirds up close, identify them, and understand their fascinating and varied behavior.
The book includes:
- Range maps and full-color photographs to help you identify and locate hummingbirds
- Information on how to select the proper feeders, what to use in them, when to put them up, and when to take them down
- Advice on what flowers to plant to attract hummingbirds in your part of the country
- Amazing facts about hummingbirds, such as how fast they fly and how much they weigh
- Guidelines for photographing hummingbirds
- Complete information on hummingbird behavior, including flight displays, breeding habits, and feeding
- A special section on attracting orioles, with photographs and behavior guides for each of the eight species found in North America
- A resource list for hummingbird supplies
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.
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.
"Fraser's Penguins is a brilliant, beautiful, and terrifying account of what's happening at the bottom of our world."--Nathaniel Philbrick, author of The Last Stand, In the Heart of the Sea, and Sea of Glory
Called "exceptionally poignant" by Nature magazine, Fen Montaigne's sensitive and timely account of five months in Antarctica gives a taste of the global changes that will soon arrive in our own backyards. Scientist Bill Fraser has devoted three decades to Antarctica, and in that time this breathtaking region has warmed faster than any place on earth, with profound consequences for the Ad lies, the classic tuxedoed penguin that is dependent on sea ice to survive. During the Antarctic spring and summer of 2005-2006, author Fen Montaigne spent five months working on Fraser's field team, and he returned with a moving tale that chronicles the beauty of the wildest place on earth, the lives of the beloved Ad lies, the saga of the discovery of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the story--told through Fraser's work--of how rising temperatures are swiftly changing this part of the world. It's Montaigne's "descriptive prowess, his ability to evoke lavender--and cobalt, magenta and violet--without waxing purple, that most impresses" (New York Times Book Review) as he chronicles the penguins' plight, which is also our own.
This handy book is a comprehensive photographic study of over 150 exquisite full-color pictures of mallards from diverse regions in many natural environments and body positions. Most of the ducks shown are wild, but there are a few penned. The majority are in full breeding plumage while a few drakes in moult are included for identification. Author/photographer Tricia Veasey demonstrates in Mallards both her enthusiasm for this species of bird and her photographic talent. She has created here an excellent source book for artists, carvers, taxidermists and naturalists alike that will delight and inspire each individually.