Review: Bird Brains

birdbrains1Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
Candace Savage
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Greystone Books 1997
ISBN-10: 0871569566
ISBN-13: 978-0871569561

This is one of my favorite bird books. It’s a thin book at 144 pages but it is large in size almost 10″ by 10″ with lots of color photos showing off corvids and their behavior. I have read large chunks of this to my co-birder on one of our Texas birding trips. It’s entertaining, well written, and the research it is based on is very good. Buy this if you can! – Jenny

birdbrains2Table of Contents
Acknowledgements vi
Brainy Birds 2
Beginnings 35
Belonging 62
Bread and Butter Issues 92
Notes 124
Bibliography 126
Index 131

From Amazon:
“Birds have long been viewed as the archetypal featherbrains—beautiful but dumb. But according to naturalist Candace Savage, “bird brain,” as a pejorative expression, should be rendered obsolete by new research on the family of corvids: crows and their close relations.

The ancients who regarded these remarkable birds as oracles, bringers of wisdom, or agents of vengeance were on the right track, for corvids appear to have powers of abstraction, memory, and creativity that put them on a par with many mammals, even higher primates. Bird Brains presents these bright, brassy, and surprisingly colorful birds in a remarkable collection of full-color, close-up photographs by some two dozen of the world’s best wildlife photographers.

Savage’s lively, authoritative text describes the life and behavior of sixteen representative corvid species that inhabit North America and Europe. Drawing on recent research, she describes birds that recognize each other as individuals, call one another by “name,” remember and relocate thousands of hidden food caches, engage in true teamwork and purposeful play, and generally exhibit an extraordinary degree of sophistication.”


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