Top critical review
An easy, enjoyable, read
5 March 2015
I was personally a little disappointed ... I have only garden bird experience after a childhood never seeing any bird (except grandma's budgie......!) However...I felt I learnt very little which was new, even from just feeding birds....One woodpigeon can communicate by head movements, to shut the door if we have unthinkingly left it open when feeding the garden birds.....I guess because they know that is how cat predators emerge; magpies in the garden here, have occasional convincingly brutal and very safe, springtime boxing matches with other members of their mafia Magpie families maybe in confusion with the March Hares....! and have on one occasion organised a successful almost kamikazee attack from the same extended magpie family on a predatory cat next door - which had killed one of their chick offspring the day before - which certainly scared the cat indoors. So they can recognise and organise and terrorise? Scary stuff. Too human. At our local seaside, we beware scaring any seagull chick. However importunate or pesky, they live 35 years and remember...And there is ( anecdotal ) evidence they actually remember you, not just any old human.
Such things as the sense of smell, here based in an experiment by Bernice Wenzil described on p 148 re wood pigeons....we can also notice noticed this, by observation, and also of colour, one of the regular garden visitors here (avian!) is terrified by a grey mix sweater but not bright colours, and of sound - tones, and pigeons can judge from a wing style whether it is a hawk or gull above - like a well trained RAF pilot. Then take off to reach up to a hundred miles an hour, with no hesitation re direction.... Impressive. They also have a sense of taste - or the regular visitor we have had for five years certainly has. The book is nice easy read, so read it, but if we 'stand and stare ' without our human arrogance, we will learn a lot and become humble...And probably vegetarian!
We are not the only species with personality...we know this from our dogs and cats, of course! The Birds horror book and Hitchcock film is also instructive. I guess I had hoped for more formal science, but it us still a nice anecdotal relaxing read for bedtime or train journey.