Book Review Tuesday

Bird Sense:  What It’s Like to Be a Bird byTim Birkhead

birdsense

Ever been called a “bird brain”? Well, after reading Bird Sense:  What It’s Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead, you might take this as a compliment rather than a criticism.  Writing with a deft sense of humor, this British author dedicates individual chapters to the senses of seeing, hearing, touch, taste, smell, magnetic sense, and emotions. At times, the writing may be a bit technical for nonscientists or amateur ornithologists, but the variety of species mentioned and the facts discussed are fascinating.

For example, did you know that an owl’s asymmetrical ears contribute to its keen sense of hearing or that a Kiwi can smell earthworms through 15 cm of soil?  (Remember, these types of facts may prove useful should you ever become a contestant on “Who wants to be a millionaire?”.) The illustrations by Katrina van Grouw are also fetching, but a note of caution: What It’s Like to Be a Bird may not be appropriate dinner time reading. Learning about contact wearing robins is one thing, but some of the dissection sequences quite another. A final takeaway is the overall sense of the remarkableness of these relatively small feathered creatures. One cannot help but recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:29-30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

The library call number for this item is QL698.B57 2012.

-Becky Paulson, Acquisitions Librarian

Footnote: This review is dedicated to the family parakeets Pickles (the three ounce bully!) and his sidekick Petunia

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