corner corner Corvus: A Life with Birds


Corvus: A Life with Birds
by Esther Woolfson | Outdoors & Nature
Registered by karen07814 of Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on 8/9/2009
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by AnonymousFinder): to be read

5 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by karen07814 from Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on Sunday, August 09, 2009

9 out of 10

To the lucky finder of this book...

Thank you for taking the time to visit us at Bookcrossing. If this is your first visit to our site...welcome & I'm sure you'll find it fun!

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I hope you've enjoyed visiting us here at BookCrossing & if you do decide to join us, please consider using me,karen07814, as the member who referred you- then I know I'm successfully spreading the BookCrossing word!

Enjoy the book!

Did I want to know this much about corvids? Did I know what corvids were? No to both.
Did I enjoy finding out?
Yes, an beautifully written book mixing all your different science subjects in one pot with a dash of home as well.
I loved the bits with the birds and their personalities and I definitely didn't expect to find myself laughing at their antics but I did.
Most of the technical bit has gone in and out again I'm afraid but the book has done exactly what it promised, I now do look at these birds rather closer when I see them and wonder which of the characters they may be similar to.
Ultimately this book gave me pleasure while I read it and I will be getting pleasure as a result of it probably in a change of attitude for the rest of my life.
That's not a bad book!

On it's travels
LaPitchoune will post int'l
Jessibud will post Canada/US
Cinnycat in US will post US 

Journal Entry 2 by karen07814 at Lahti, Päijät-Häme / Päijänne-Tavastland Finland on Friday, August 14, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (8/14/2009 UTC) at Lahti, Päijät-Häme / Päijänne-Tavastland Finland



over to you 

Journal Entry 3 by LaPitchoune from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Corvus had flown in through the front door while I was at work. I'll keep it for a little while and see if we become friends. Thanks for letting it fly free! 

Journal Entry 4 by LaPitchoune from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, November 04, 2009

7 out of 10

The book has lingered with me for a longer time than I planned. But it has been a nice companion on various train and bus travels.

It was indeed curious to read about the lives of birds, and the secrets they share with those who know how to look and listen. Esther Woolfson has a sensitivity for the animals and her wonderful vocabulary interprets subtly all kinds of marvelous details, facts and thoughts.

I wasn't that into the historical skull formation thing or such, but it was great to learn about the typical characteristics of each bird personality. I wish I had made a list of my favorite words, but I didn't. It should have been done right from the start, because there were plenty.

A truly poetic and educative book. A positive surprise. Thanks for sharing!

I have contacted jessibud to ask for her address. The book will be on its way over the Atlantic as soon as possible. 

Journal Entry 5 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This book has not been rated.

This book arrived today. I need to finish writing my reports to hand in this week but I hope to be able to start the book by the weekend. Thanks! 

Journal Entry 6 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Just popping in to say that I am about half way through the book and am really enjoying it! Woolfson is really a wonderful writer, very lyrical and evocative and this is really a pleasure so far. Most especially since I think I may have broken some kind of record this year in the number of books I have begun and given up on without finishing because they simply have not engaged me. This will definitely NOT be on that list!

Another journal entry after I'm done! 

Journal Entry 7 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This book has not been rated.

After promising myself to cut back completely from bookrings this past year, finding and joining this one was unexpected and impulsive. And, I have to say, it may well be the very best book I have read all year. Woolfson is a gifted writer; she tells a great story with humour, and language that is a pure pleasure to read. That she drops science (biology, physiology, anthropology) as well as history and philosophy into the mix so easily and so compellingly, is like icing on a cake. Just as easily, she quotes poems, politicians, and raises questions that would rattle the bars of the evolutionist/creationist camp. She leaves no stone unturned, from the physiology and purpose of feathers and flight, to the intricacies and necessity of birdsong. Just fascinating stuff.

I found myself copying more passages than the usual one or two. I may well have to go out and purchase a permanent copy of this book. Here are just a few that really spoke to me:

- The cleaning of birds is levelling, as in Mao's China, when the aetiolated thinkers, the university graduates, the professors and doctors were sent off on shit-shovelling duties in an attempt to reunite them with the land and remind them of the dangers of intellectual pride. It prevents me from imagining that I am anything other than a birds' domestic help.

- It is often suggested that, without language, thought (and indeed consciousness) is, if not impossible, then limited, but is all human thought framed within language? Is there not impression, sense, a series of sensations, underlying the process of thought? Might it not be that there are other ways to think? Do we know enough of another species' language to know?

- Among the things of which we may be most afraid is the silence of birds. It foreshadows endings. It creates images of paces despoiled, of habitats laid waste - oil slicks or poisoning by pesticides - of war and the threat of war, of destruction by heat or ice or water. The silence of birds is the absence of birds. Strip from each day, season, year, the presence of birds. Still the movement, stop the singing. In cities, the only natural sounds would be our own, our voices, the wind and rain. Birdsong is more than itself. It is not an addition, supplementary to the rest of our lives, pleasing but inessential; it is vital, necessary, for the sounds we hear daily are, at the very least, one marker, if not of our success then of our welcome failure, thus far, to complete our process of destruction. The title of Rachel Carson's startlingly innovative, Silent Spring, published in 1962, shocks, for the terrible contradiction contained in those two words.... The song of birds is integral to our lives, one component of the synaethesia of memory, like music or scent or the sudden image flashing a synaptic instant of recall, a summer garden, a wood, a moor, a harbour. A sound catches you.

- During the day when I'm planning, considering, I think of the bird and of the circumstances that cast him from the life he might have known, of the events in the lives of us all, bird, beast or human, that may seem like chance but aren't, the upheavals and cataclysms of politics or nature that disposses or destroy, taking us all to other lives or other destinies, of the interdependence, the solace of others, on which we all may or may not depend. I think of how, after I first met Chicken, the feeling began to develop that, more than simply taking a new interest in corvids, I had opened myself to a new society.


Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of this bookring. It will be on its way to Cinnycat tomorrow.


Journal Entry 8 by BookBirds from -- wild in the usa, -- Wild Released somewhere in USA -- USA on Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Received this one today. I'm starting it after my current book! thanks for sending, jessibud (and the bookmarks!) and for sharing, Karen! 

Journal Entry 9 by BookBirds at Central Square, New York USA on Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This book has not been rated.

I love birds... but Woolfson's story of taking care of birds seems like a lot of work! I've helped a few baby birds over the years, watching over them, setting them back in the trees after a storm (so at least the cats have a tougher time getting to them), and naively trying to coach them to fly as a child, but have never decided to house them. As Woolfson mentions, I'd be worried about taking their freedom away, even if it means extending their lifespan. What I'm most envious of, is a birds power of flight and I'm thankful that Woolfson mentions I'm not the only one! Every time I see any bird fly, I think I'd trade being a person to be a bird! I was never prejudiced against some bird species over others, as Woolfson suggests some people are. I wonder why people chase some birds away but not other birds. It doesn't really make sense to me. And if they read 'Corvus', they'd see these birds are just as amazing as all the birds they aren't chasing away. I felt some parts of this book were unnecessary (like going on a trip to look at birds and not finding any) but this was a lovely little book for anyone interested to know what it is like to live with birds. I also copied a bunch of stuff from the book down.. thanks for sharing! ETA: ack, I just saw the dates after posting my journal entry! So sorry I took so long with it. I kind of got sidetracked by other books!  

Journal Entry 10 by BookBirds at Central Square, New York USA on Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Released 7 yrs ago (8/25/2010 UTC) at Central Square, New York USA


Sent to erishkgal today! Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 11 by wingAnonymousFinderwing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Friday, September 03, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Wheeeee, received in Salt Lake by this long-time Corvid- lover~~~THANK YOU! 

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