The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

Front Cover
Bloomsbury, 2011 - Birds - 437 pages
6 Reviews
For thousands of years people have been fascinated by birds, and today that fascination is still growing. In 2007 bird-watching is one of the most popular pastimes, not just in Britain, but throughout the world, and the range of interest runs from the specialist to the beginner. In The Wisdom of Birds, Birkhead takes the reader on a journey that not only tells us about the extraordinary lives of birds - from conception and egg, through territory and song, to migration and fully fledged breeder - but also shows how, over centuries, we have overcome superstition and untested 'truths' to know what we know, and how recent some of that knowledge is. It was only in the nineteenth century that the ancient belief that swallows hibernated under water (!) finally gave way to general acceptance of the facts of migration. In the same century of dazzling experimental science, even Darwin chose not to dwell on the sexual promiscuity of female birds to spare the blushes of his daughter, who was helping to correct the proofs of The Descent of Man. Conceived for a general audience, and illustrated throughout with more than 100 exquisitely beautiful illustrations, many of them rarely, if ever, seen before, The Wisdom of Birds is a book full of stories, knowledge and unexpected revelations.

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Review: The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

User Review  - Yi Shang - Goodreads

Good writing and gorgeous illustrations. I enjoyed the stories of the ornithologists Read full review

Review: The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

User Review  - Charlotte - Goodreads

A really informative book! Full of lovely illustrations out of some of the original works or past ornithologists. Gives a history of one of the most popular sections of zoology today in very good ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Tim Birkhead is a professor at the University of Sheffield where he teaches animal behaviour and the history of science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and his research has taken him all over the world in the quest to understand the lives of birds. He has written for The Independent, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife. Among his other books are Promiscuity, Great Auk Islands, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Birds which won the McColvin medal and The Red Canary which won the Consul Cremer Prize. He is married with three children and lives in Sheffield.

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