Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Thing with Feathers

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human
By Noah Strycker
Riverhead Books, 2014. 304 pages. Nonfiction

Strycker takes a look at several interesting bird species and qualities in them that humans can both relate to and learn from.  Strycker's fascinating stories include the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the feisty nature of hummingbirds, the artistic tendencies of bower birds, the stratified social structures of chicken flocks, the altruism of fairy-wrens, and the way that the albatross will mate for life.  Strycker believes that by studying why birds do what they do, it can offer insights into our own nature as humans.

This was a fun read that will appeal to birders and those who like reading nature books.  I enjoyed Strycker's fascinating information about different bird species, though his connections to our own nature as humans sometimes felt a bit disjointed.  I'd recommend this more for the interesting information about the amazing things birds can do rather than the enlightenment about humanity itself, though there are some compelling comparisons here.


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