The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 25, 2010 - Nature - 249 pages
7 Reviews
Biologist Bridget Stutchbury takes readers along on her escapades as a bird detective, stalking subjects through the woods for hours, taking blood samples from nestlings for DNA analysis, and mounting miniature tracking devices on tiny backs. She captures several young white-and-brown male purple martins and paints them the darker color of mature males to see if the painted youngsters are more successful than their unaltered peers in wresting away nest sites from older males. They are!

The Private Lives of Birds is a treasure trove of fascinating insights into bird behavior. But understanding the social lives of birds does much more than slake our curiosity. Aware that many birds will not occupy an area unless other birds are already there, biologists used mirrors and two-dimensional cutouts to lure Atlantic puffins to establish colonies off the coast of Maine, getting curious puffins to visit the site and linger long enough to encounter a live bird. As Stutchbury says, "Trying to save birds without understanding what makes them tick is a shot in the dark … birds are highly social, and their social needs are at least as important as their physical needs."
  

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Review: The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

User Review  - Adrian - Goodreads

It was quite an interesting read about the social relationships that birds have with each other. The author also uses "human" terms to describe them to make it easier to understand; like cuckold. Read full review

Review: The Private Lives of Birds: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life

User Review  - Reddkatz - Goodreads

It was quite an interesting read about the social relationships that birds have with each other. The author also uses "human" terms to describe them to make it easier to understand; like cuckold. Read full review

Contents

1 PHILANDERING FLYCATCHERS
2 MONOGAMY IN A TROPICAL PARADISE
3 FINICKY FEMALES
4 AVIAN OPERAS
5 TIL DEATH DO US PART
6 YOUR TURN OR MINE?
7 EMPTY NEST
8 FIGHT OR FLIGHT
9 BIRD CITIES
10 FREQUENT FLIERS
EPILOGUE
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS BY JULIE ZICKEFOOSE
SOURCES
A Note on the Author
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Bridget Stutchbury completed her Ph.D. at Yale, was a fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institute, and is now professor of biology at York University. She is affiliated with more than a dozen organizations that seek to preserve bird habitats. Her book, The Silence of the Songbirds, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction.

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