What It's Like to Be a Bird
From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing--What Birds Are Doing, and Why
The bird book for birders and nonbirders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common, mostly backyard, birds are doing—and why: "Can birds smell?"; "Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?"; "Do robins 'hear' worms?"
"The book's beauty mirrors the beauty of birds it describes so marvelously." —NPR
In What It's Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds—blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees—it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin.
David Sibley's exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. (For most species, the primary illustration is reproduced life-sized.) And while the text is aimed at adults—including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes—it is nontechnical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-color illustrations of birds in action.
Unlike any other book he has written, What It's Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley's world of birds.
Ornithologist and illustrator Sibley (The Sibley Guide to Birds) offers a fascinating work that fulfills its goal to "give readers some sense of what it's like to be a bird." Through textual and colorfully visual portraits of numerous birds, ranging from the familiar American robin to more obscure species, Sibley explores various aspects of bird biology and behavior, such as hearing, nesting, and mating. He describes how birds rehearse their songs before sharing them with other birds, and then adjust their styles depending upon the audience, with rivals and potential mates hearing dramatically different songs. There are eye-opening facts on almost every page, such as crows' ability to recognize individual humans and convey among themselves whether those people are friends or foes. Despite decades of studying these animals, Sibley was still surprised, while working on this book, to learn of the complexity of their lives, leading him to conclude that birds' instincts arise, in part, from humanlike feelings, such as pride and anxiety a position that he frankly concedes will be rejected by many as anthropomorphic. Nonetheless, even skeptics will emerge with a deeper appreciation of birds, and of what observable behaviors can reveal about animals' lives.