2 journalers for this copy...
The book opens with a chapter on chickens, introducing the author's flock in all their individualistic glory. There are trials and tribulations involved in keeping chickens - and that's even if one is not inclined to prepare them for the stewpot; protecting them from wildlife or from neighborhood dogs is one thing, protecting the neighbors from potential noise and odor is another. [Choose your neighbors wisely if you want to raise chickens - or any other livestock, for that matter!]
From there the book ranges far and wide, from cassowaries in Australia (perhaps the most dinosaur-like of surviving birds) to hummingbirds in California. The cassowary chapter is quite entertaining, though also a bit scary; while not quite at velociraptor levels of danger, the birds are very large and powerful, and could inflict a lot of damage if they chose. A rather amusing bit - to me if not to the owners of the cars - mentions occasional cassowary damage to doors and windows; apparently they, like our songbirds, sometimes try to battle their own reflections, but when the bird is over five feet tall and weighs 150 pounds it's the car that will take the most damage!
The hummingbird chapter includes some sad accounts of the fates that these tiny, jewel-like birds sometimes suffer, but also provides examples of their marvelous capabilities. I've been able to witness the ruby-throats (the only variety in my area) at the feeders, sometimes viciously defending the feeders against all comers, and sometimes - or so it seemed to me - hovering at the window as if to tell me to come and refill the feeders at once...
There's a chapter on hawks, with examples of falconry (and the hazards of carrying around birds with talons and beaks designed to inflict damage), and on pigeons, and parrots, and crows, with personal encounters as well as descriptions of the history and ups-and-downs of each variety. Quite fascinating!
This was a fascinating book covering a variety of birds. I was intrigued by the Cassowaries, though I don't fancy meeting one face to face. I had no idea parrots could do so many things, and the dancing Snowball was a hoot - no, wait - that should be used to describe an owl...
I was surprised to learn that birdsong can vary according to place. It makes sense, as human language sure does that, but it's something I never thought about. This book is just packed with interesting info!
I must say that crows have risen considerably in my estimation after reading this. I remember hearing years ago from a bird enthusiast that crow families have au pairs, which after reading this I have learned are actually children from previous matings that stick around to help care for the next batch. It's true that crows can be noisily annoying, especially in large groups (interesting to learn of the efforts to keep large flocks out of cities), but they're also unfairly discriminated against because of their color (just like black cats). As a language lover, I found it interesting (and disheartening) to see an example of this prejudice in the words for groups of birds: "a large group of crows is called a murder; a flock of ravens, an unkindness."
Earlier, I had read an entire book about pigeons and had learned about the popularity of racing them, and their amazing homing skills. It was nice to revisit this subject here in this book.
Thanks again, Gory, for the opportunity to read this.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Released for Keep Them Moving Challenge hosted by booklady331.
Released for 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count Challenge hosted by GoryDetails.
Released for February 2018 Ultimate Challenge hosted by jumpingin. This month's theme is By Air or By Sea.
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