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In the Company of Crows and Ravens Hardcover – 4 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (4 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300100760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300100761
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 18.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'...beautifully illustrated and produced...as gripping and difficult to put down as any good work of fiction.' -- Alex Kacelnik, Nature, February 23 2006

'...engrossing...' -- Rebecca Solnit, London Review of Books, March 23 2006

'A solid volume...[with] a vast amount of fascinating and provocative material...' -- Birds, 1st March 2006

'This is a work bursting with fresh ideas, rich in speculation...' -- BBC Wildlife Magazine, October 2005

'a cornucopia of corvid memorabilia. This is a well-researched, fascinating book to read...' -- Tim Birkhead, Times Literary Supplement, 30th June 2006

About the Author

John M. Marzluff is Denman Professor of Sustainable Resource Sciences and professor of wildlife science, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington. Tony Angell is a freelance artist and writer in Lopez Island, Washington. Together the authors combine more than 60 years of scientific and artistic fascination with crows and their bird relatives.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 15 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover
They lack the colour glories of parrots and lorikeets. They're not like the little tweetie birds of our childhood books. Probably the best known of them is Poe's bleak image - perched atop a skull croaking its dismal litany. Long before Poe, however, the corvids had gained a shady reputation in Western European legends and myths. Crows and ravens were messengers of dark fortunes sent by agents of evil intent. As is so often the case with relying on literature to depict Nature, the legends misled us. The reality is far more interesting and explains more than fiction ever has. Marzluff and Angell, are dedicated scholars in the history and legends of the corvids. This book reflects well that background, and their combined skills present what they've gleaned with style and wit.

Perhaps no other species has shown how Darwinian adaptability can work as have crows, the authors suggest. Once wild and scattered, the crow has become habitated to human settlement. They were certainly scavengers at human feeding sites, whether people were hunters or scavengers themselves. Agriculture clearly brought them from the forests to the fields we planted. Grain crops - "the staff of life" - enticed them to our neighbourhoods quickly. The rise of cities only intensified the contact and offered the crow fresh opportunity. The "fast-food" restaurant, with its Dumpsters and scattered, food bearing trash, brings them hovering over what they clearly find a delicacy. They may even become selective, choosing the more brightly-coloured fries container over an equally laden drab one. It's even possible that the newly inhabited urban existence may be enhancing their numbers. The hunting activities in farmland is lacking in the city, but there are many nesting sites.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 2 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many people hate crows, magpies and related birds. I don't. Already as a kid, my mother gave me and my brother two crocheted toy crows. You heard me. Naturally, we named them Hugin and Munin. We did live in Sweden, after all. I was also fascinated by real, non-crocheted magpies. They had built an enormous nest in a tall tree just outside our window, in the middle of an apartment building neighbourhood! And you wonder why I review corvoid books, are you now?

;-)

"In the company of crows and ravens" by John Marzluff and Tony Angell must be the ultimate nerd book on American Crows and the Common Raven, although many other species are mentioned in passing. To be honest, John and Tony are the kind of natural scientists who prefer socializing with birds to writing books, which makes their book shaky at times, in terms of style and disposition. Sometimes, they mysteriously return to subjects already covered in a previous chapter, and they often introduce new subjects without natural transitions from the previous ones. Did I mind? Naaah, not this time. The book is simply too interesting!

If there is a main theme in this rollercoaster ride of a book, it's co-evolution between humans and crows/ravens. For instance, the authors believe that the American, Northwestern and Fish Crows were originally a single species. The primordial American Crow evolved into three distinct species by adapting to three different kinds of Native American culture. Today, as the big cities are expanding, the American Crows are becoming more widespread, interbreeding with the previously isolated Northwestern Crows. Also, the subspecies of the American Crow more frequently interbreed with each other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicolas Milne on 9 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this as I needed some detail on crows, intending to flick through and pick out the bits I required. However I read it all and this is an indication of the book's readability. It is an American book and an American literary style and draws mainly from American sources,which may be a disadvantage if you want to read about crows in Europe. It is aimed very much at the non specialist with an entry level interest. It gave me all I needed, was interesting and I enjoyed reading it. No photoplates but great and often moody drawings
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book made even better by the top quality illustrations - the authors should be congratulated for their fascinating look at the natural history but also the folk lore of corvids, and their long association with man. The inclusion of some of the rarer species (e.g. the Hawaiian Crow) and the conservation measures brought in for such species is particularly interesting.
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By C. A. Gammon on 14 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book, great writing & information. Superb pictures and drawings, cannot recommend more highly. Great present idea.
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