The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future by Jim Robbins

The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future

A fascinating investigation into the miraculous world of birds and the powerful--and surprising--ways they enrich our lives and sustain the planetOur relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with t...

Title:The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0812993535
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages

The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future Reviews

  • Victoria
    Apr 21, 2017

    This is a truly wonderful – and very approachable – non-fiction book that is exactly what its title purports it to be: all about the wonder of birds. Robbins collects not only familiar anecdotes about the more popular bird species, but includes a fairly wide variety of birds and interesting (and sometimes shocking) facts and other fascinating tidbits. He really does a terrific job of intersecting human and avian history into an incredibly readable format. There are chapters here that dip into al

    This is a truly wonderful – and very approachable – non-fiction book that is exactly what its title purports it to be: all about the wonder of birds. Robbins collects not only familiar anecdotes about the more popular bird species, but includes a fairly wide variety of birds and interesting (and sometimes shocking) facts and other fascinating tidbits. He really does a terrific job of intersecting human and avian history into an incredibly readable format. There are chapters here that dip into all of my favorite birds – from hummingbirds to corvids to owls and more. The style of the book is perhaps not one that is intended to be read all at once (it can get a little repetitive at times, though almost in a conversational way, so it isn’t really aggravating – and probably not noticeable at all if you set this down for more than a few hours at a time!). Either way, it is a completely interesting read that skirts some political issues without falling into more controversial parts (there are some easily laid stepping stones into more hot-button topics that Robbins astutely avoids). It’s really a wonderful read and one that I can’t recommend highly enough! It keeps the story very human, too, while highlighting these wonderful creatures (bird-owners may be the only ones a bit disappointed – there isn’t much about birds as pets here). I think it’s an amazing read, and completely lived into my expectations! I just love it!

  • Carol
    May 28, 2017

    The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, The World and a Better Future by Jim Robbins will have you reading out loud to your spouses, friends and family. Having read a lot about bird psychology, habits, and about different kinds of birds, there is still so much to learn about them.

    The author divides his book into five different sections: What Birds Tell Us About the Natural World, The Gifts of Birds, Discovering Ourselves Through Birds and Birds and Hope for a Better Future. In t

    The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, The World and a Better Future by Jim Robbins will have you reading out loud to your spouses, friends and family. Having read a lot about bird psychology, habits, and about different kinds of birds, there is still so much to learn about them.

    The author divides his book into five different sections: What Birds Tell Us About the Natural World, The Gifts of Birds, Discovering Ourselves Through Birds and Birds and Hope for a Better Future. In those sections are several chapters each. In each section, I have a few favorite chapters. For example in the first section, A Murmuring of Birds: The Extraordinary Design of the Flock. I was very excited to see this chapter because, I have a lot of memories of sitting on a concrete bench after work waiting for my husband to pick me up from work. On some days, I saw hundreds of black birds fly in front of the building and take sharp turns suddenly and never being off with a lone bird in the flock. Essentially it was a long ballet of birds that went on for at least an hour. Why they seeming turn in unison and never make a mistake? How did they all know their own part in the ballet? Unfortunately once I was really caught up in this intricate moving geometry of dance, someone who sit down beside me and interrupt my wonder with conversation! The authors goes into the research about all the variables of flock movement. The more you read, the more fascinating it becomes.

    That is just one of my reactions, I have many to this informative book about birds. There are so fascinating facts about different birds are covered. There were many times that I put this book down and connected with my past memories of birds or just stopped to muse about how amazing birds are.

    The reading is very comfortable. Even some things codes be very technical, he never let my interest wilt. My love of birds is just much stronger. I was disappointed that he hunts birds but I will forgive him that for this book. My only plea to him is to please hunt with the camera instead of a gun.

    I highly recommend this book to all bird lovers.

    I received this Advance Reading Copy of the above book from the publisher by a win from FirstReads. My thoughts and feelings in this review are totally my own.

  • Nostalgia Reader
    May 29, 2017

    3.5 stars.

    Although I've always loved birds, I've become a much more avid and aware

    bird watcher in the past year, so this book caught my eye when it promised to reveal how important birds are to our lives.

    Each chapter focuses on a different species of bird/group of birds and discusses how the bird(s) unique features help out the environment and the human race, or highlights some of their amazing, still not understood feats of endurance. Geese that migrate high over Mt. Everest, bird mu

    3.5 stars.

    Although I've always loved birds, I've become a much more avid and aware

    bird watcher in the past year, so this book caught my eye when it promised to reveal how important birds are to our lives.

    Each chapter focuses on a different species of bird/group of birds and discusses how the bird(s) unique features help out the environment and the human race, or highlights some of their amazing, still not understood feats of endurance. Geese that migrate high over Mt. Everest, bird murmur studies, bird guano, bee-eater's human-like family dramas, and birds/birdwatching as therapy are just some of the multitudes of stories highlighted in Robbins' book. The writing style is incredibly easy to read, the perfect blend of hard facts, interviews, and personal observations. Perfect summer-time reading as you can easily dip in and out of the book, reading a chapter or two here and there as it catches your fancy.

    Many of these chapters piqued my interest, and made me more interested in many of the birds, or aspects of birds, that I read about. However, I still had to round down my rating of 3.5 stars because it falls into an information presentation style that I hate: The extremely amazed shock that birds are smart creatures who have personalities, can figure out problems, and are an extremely vital part of the ecosystem. More vital, and possibly even more smarter, than humans.

    There's no doubt that many of the facts I learned were quite surprising to me--I found myself thinking "a bird can really do that?!" throughout the book. But I felt like there was an undertone of offense under this all, as if birds being this awesome is offending a fragile human superego. This is a bit of a nit picking issue, as the overall tone takes a positive-neutral pro-bird stance. However, the astonishment seemed past the excited, "whoa, birds are amazing!" to the offended, "how in the world can birds be better than us?"

    I also found that, when Robbins discussed the importance and use of birds in indigenous cultures and beliefs, there seemed a disconnect to the importance or relevance of these stories, seeming to be included to meet a requirement rather than a true interest. Traditional stories that were used to complement the facts in some chapters seemed to be brushed aside as "silly" or insignificant--even though the epilogue encourages us to reconnect to nature and to that "oneness" with the earth that these ancient, indigenous cultures still retain.

    Despite my irritation with some of the stylistic undertones, I would still recommend this book to any bird or nature lover. It's an excellent way to introduce someone to how wonderful birds can be.

    Thank to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!

    (Cross posted on

    .)

  • Lucy Banks
    May 25, 2017

    Birds are fascinating creatures. Direct descendants of dinosaurs, they're capable of not only flight but a myriad of other impressive things - yet we often take them for granted.

    This book highlights, in wonderfully accessible language, just why birds are so remarkable. Each chapter is devoted to a different attribute - flight, eggs, intelligence an

    Birds are fascinating creatures. Direct descendants of dinosaurs, they're capable of not only flight but a myriad of other impressive things - yet we often take them for granted.

    This book highlights, in wonderfully accessible language, just why birds are so remarkable. Each chapter is devoted to a different attribute - flight, eggs, intelligence and so forth. Some chapters were particularly fascinating, such as the one on Corvids and their ability to create tools - amazing! The chapter on the USA's 'broiler belt' and the cruelty to chickens was likewise interesting and very hard-hitting.

    All the contents are backed up by scientific research and statistics, including some interviews with known experts in the field. However, at no point did I feel bamboozled by jargon - I loved that it was so easy to read.

    Only one tiny thing - I was bemused when the author said he liked to hunt birds. This seemed rather at odds with someone who professes to love them. But there you go, takes all sorts.

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    Jun 07, 2017

    The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future by Jim Robbins is journey of love and fascination between mankind and birds. A journal where man has benefited by watching our feathered friends in different ways and how they have enriched our lives, how they have helped our planet, and have pleased our eyes and warmed our hearts. It is written so warmly, and tenderly, I can feel the love for the feathered creatures from far away and it warmed me...As a bird

    The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us about Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future by Jim Robbins is journey of love and fascination between mankind and birds. A journal where man has benefited by watching our feathered friends in different ways and how they have enriched our lives, how they have helped our planet, and have pleased our eyes and warmed our hearts. It is written so warmly, and tenderly, I can feel the love for the feathered creatures from far away and it warmed me...As a bird lover, nature lover, this is a treasure! For everyone, this book will delight and open their minds to our magical friends of a feather. The author takes us, hand and wing, on a journey through differences and changes that link us together. It is amazing how we are linked together in this amazing thing called life. Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this book.

  • Natalie Keating
    Jun 09, 2017

    This is a really interesting book overall. I've always loved birds (shoutout to my beloved parakeets, even though they aren't on the internet!) and it was really interesting learning about all the amazing things birds can do. I liked the chapters about bird behavior and birds eating bugs. Less pleasant were the ones about humans eating birds and performing certain experiments on them. The author's style is very readable and the book is a quick read for nonfiction. I'd definitely recommend it—but

    This is a really interesting book overall. I've always loved birds (shoutout to my beloved parakeets, even though they aren't on the internet!) and it was really interesting learning about all the amazing things birds can do. I liked the chapters about bird behavior and birds eating bugs. Less pleasant were the ones about humans eating birds and performing certain experiments on them. The author's style is very readable and the book is a quick read for nonfiction. I'd definitely recommend it—but be warned, you may never want to eat chicken again after reading this!

  • Kirsten Cutler
    Jun 16, 2017

    A fascinating exploration of birds, their incredible diversity and their many wonderful and unique characteristics including demonstrable intelligence. Truly inspiring to learn about the many people studying and interacting with birds, and poignant to read about people whose psyches have been healed through their connection with birds. This is a paean to birds that excites the reader to care about birds and perhaps even work to ensure their future thriving in an increasingly human-dominated worl

    A fascinating exploration of birds, their incredible diversity and their many wonderful and unique characteristics including demonstrable intelligence. Truly inspiring to learn about the many people studying and interacting with birds, and poignant to read about people whose psyches have been healed through their connection with birds. This is a paean to birds that excites the reader to care about birds and perhaps even work to ensure their future thriving in an increasingly human-dominated world. There was one little chapter that made me uncomfortable that described the author's pleasure in hunting pheasants, although my husband pointed out that often hunters are in the forefront of conservation of wild animals. Otherwise, I think this book is an important contribution to the literature about wildlife that is both accessible and informative.

  • Jerry Wall
    Jun 18, 2017

    Hummingbirds joyas voladoras, flying jewels p. 20

    murmurations (huge number of birds flying together) while they are large, they are deceptively flat p. 50

    in fact, more than two-thirds of the people who grow chickens live below the poverty line. p. 85

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