In The Thing With Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human, Oregon field ornithologist Noah Strycker delves into the lives of thirteen bird species that remind us that humans are not so unique in the natural world. This book offers descriptions of the behaviors of these birds, accounts of naturalists past and present in their efforts to understand their behavior, and ways in which various bird behaviors are similar to those of humans, or which might offer insight into dealing with human problems. From pigeons that amazingly know how to return home and vultures that can sense dead animals from afar to information-hoarding nutcrackers and magpies that know themselves, Strycker connects birds with the human world. The chapter on starlings, in which Strycker looks at their incredible ability to maneuver as a flock, is particularly interesting.

[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Riverhead Books
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook, Audible
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

The Thing With Feathers is a testament to more recent thinking in biology that focuses less on human uniqueness and more on how humans and other animals are similar. And though this is not Strycker’s specific goal for this book, such thinking reminds us to recognize that we are all of the same world, and we would do well to protect it.

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