Caw of the Wild: Observations from the Secret World of Crows Paperback – 19 Sep 2005
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"Caw of the Wild" is an in-depth exploration into the intriguing and complex behavior of one of North America's most intelligent, but often reviled, birds - the American Crow. As a passionate observer, author Barb Kirpluk shares her extraordinary and fascinating findings, while tracking three urban crow families through their daily existence. By befriending the birds and gaining their trust, Kirpluk shares many observations on subjects, such as: the language of crows; crow habits and social relationships; and the endearing personal relationships that evolved and allowed her to learn from the birds. Kirpluk brings to life the unforgettable characters of these birds, by combining anecdotal tales and recent scientific literature. Her quest eventually leads her to the world of wildlife rehabilitation where, for a year, she studies and catalogues a group of captive crows. "Caw of the Wild" is an honest and heartfelt portrayal of a misunderstood bird, and may just encourage you to take a new look at the American crow.
About the Author
Barb Kirpluk lives in the Midwest where she works as an interior landscaper. She has turned her small backyard into a wildlife oasis for all birds, but especially her beloved crows.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I liked this book because it answered so many questions I had about crows, and because the author asks so many additional questions. Her writing style is smooth, polished, and personal, and so we look forward to the next page and the next.
I think this book provides a good model for how the serious amateur naturalist can work. Starting with local nature, watch closely, take good notes, ask lots of questions, read the literature and write, read and write. Polish your narrative, and share it with an interested audience. The author's contact with her crows was certainly less intense than that of Joe Hutto or Benjamin Kilham, but it might be more inspiring to amateurs: the author proves you don't have to sleep on a branch with a crow to get to know it, and that serious nature study is accessible to part-time naturalists. This book certainly makes a bigger contribution to our understanding of crows than does the work of many professional naturalists, armed with counters or leg bands.
Birders might do well to put down their life lists and pick up this book. Knowing a few birds well is surely more useful and rewarding than getting a glimpse of many birds.
The second part of the book tells of her experiences while volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center, as she studies the behavior of the two indoor and three outdoor crows which reside there. Because they are confined to a cage, individual personalities as well as the relationships between the three outdoor crows can be intimately viewed.
If you are at all interested in befriending crows, or are just curious what they are like, I can't imagine a better book to read. Crows are so intelligent; I especially loved the emotional bond that developed between crow and human. This is one of the best books I have ever read!
She gives many useful tips on approaching the wily birds, making it a fun read. However her story goes on and on beyond my attention span.