Thoughtful gifts for curious people

The Genius of Birds


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According to new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence - with enormous brains relative to their size, and packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight.

The Genius of Birds travels around the world to the cutting-edge frontiers of research – from the laboratories of Barbados and New Caledonia, the great tit communities of the United Kingdom and the bowerbirds of Australia to the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia. 

Consider the Clark’s nutcracker, that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and find them again months later; the mockingbirds and thrashers that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours and the New Caledonian crow, an impressive bird that makes its own tools.

But beyond their unique technical genius, they have extraordinary emotional intelligence. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They display a strong sense of fairness. They give gifts. They tease. They share. They cultivate social networks. They vie for status. They kiss to console one another. They teach their young. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve.

Part scientific investigation, part travelogue this book weaves personal anecdotes with fascinating science,  giving readers a new appreciation for the extraordinary genius of birds.

Paperback, 416 pages.
Measures 12.8 x 19.5 cm.