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The Most Perfect Thing

The Most Perfect Thing Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 9781632863713
Release 2016-04-12
Pages 304
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A bird's egg is a nearly perfect survival capsule--an external womb--and one of natural selection's most wonderful creations. Shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2016.One of Forbes' Best Books About Birds and Birding in 2016. Renowned ornithologist Tim Birkhead opens this gripping story as a female guillemot chick hatches, already carrying her full quota of tiny eggs within her undeveloped ovary. As she grows into adulthood, only a few of her eggs mature, are released into the oviduct, and are fertilized by sperm stored from copulation that took place days or weeks earlier. Within a matter of hours, the fragile yolk is surrounded by albumen and the whole is gradually encased within a turquoise jewel of a shell. Soon the fully formed egg is expelled onto a rocky ledge, where it will be incubated for four weeks before a chick emerges and the life cycle begins again. THE MOST PERFECT THING is about how eggs in general are made, fertilized, developed, and hatched. Birkhead uses birds' eggs as wondrous portals into natural history, enlivened by the stories of naturalists and scientists, including Birkhead and his students, whose discoveries have advanced current scientific knowledge of reproduction.



The Most Perfect Thing

The Most Perfect Thing Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 9781408851265
Release 2016-04-07
Pages 304
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'I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird's egg' Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1862 How are eggs of different shapes made, and why are they the shape they are? When does the shell of an egg harden? Why do some eggs contain two yolks? How are the colours and patterns of an eggshell created, and why do they vary? And which end of an egg is laid first Â? the blunt end or the pointy end? These are just some of the questions A Bird's Egg answers, as the journey of a bird's egg from creation and fertilisation to its eventual hatching is examined, with current scientific knowledge placed within an historical context. Beginning with an examination of the stunning eggs of the guillemot, each of which is so variable in pattern and colour that no two are ever the same, acclaimed ornithologist Tim Birkhead then looks at the eggs of hens, cuckoos and many other birds, revealing weird and wonderful facts about these miracles of nature. Woven around and supporting these facts are extraordinary stories of the individuals who from as far back as Ancient Egypt have been fixated on the study and collection of eggs, not always to the benefit of their conservation. Firmly grounded in science and enriched by a wealth of observation drawn from a lifetime spent studying birds,A Bird's Egg is an illuminating and engaging exploration of the science behind eggs and the history of man's obsession with them.



Bird Sense

Bird Sense Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 9780802779687
Release 2012-04-24
Pages 288
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What is it like to be a swift, flying at over one hundred kilometres an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? And what is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? Bird Sense addresses questions like these and many more, by describing the senses of birds that enable them to interpret their environment and to interact with each other. Our affinity for birds is often said to be the result of shared senses--vision and hearing--but how exactly do their senses compare with our own? And what about a bird's sense of taste, or smell, or touch, or the ability to detect the earth's magnetic field? Or the extraordinary ability of desert birds to detect rain hundreds of kilometres away--how do they do it? Bird Sense is based on a conviction that we have consistently underestimated what goes on in a bird's head. Our understanding of bird behaviour is simultaneously informed and constrained by the way we watch and study them. By drawing attention to the way these frameworks both facilitate and inhibit discovery, Birkhead identifies ways we can escape from them to explore new horizons in bird behaviour. There has never been a popular book about the senses of birds. No one has previously looked at how birds interpret the world or the way the behaviour of birds is shaped by all their senses. A lifetime spent studying birds has provided Tim Birkhead with a wealth of observation and a unique understanding of birds and their behaviour that is firmly grounded in science.



The Book of Eggs

The Book of Eggs Author Mark E. Hauber
ISBN-10 9780226057811
Release 2014-08-01
Pages 656
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From the brilliantly green and glossy eggs of the Elegant Crested Tinamou—said to be among the most beautiful in the world—to the small brown eggs of the house sparrow that makes its nest in a lamppost and the uniformly brown or white chickens’ eggs found by the dozen in any corner grocery, birds’ eggs have inspired countless biologists, ecologists, and ornithologists, as well as artists, from John James Audubon to the contemporary photographer Rosamond Purcell. For scientists, these vibrant vessels are the source of an array of interesting topics, from the factors responsible for egg coloration to the curious practice of “brood parasitism,” in which the eggs of cuckoos mimic those of other bird species in order to be cunningly concealed among the clutches of unsuspecting foster parents. The Book of Eggs introduces readers to eggs from six hundred species—some endangered or extinct—from around the world and housed mostly at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. Organized by habitat and taxonomy, the entries include newly commissioned photographs that reproduce each egg in full color and at actual size, as well as distribution maps and drawings and descriptions of the birds and their nests where the eggs are kept warm. Birds’ eggs are some of the most colorful and variable natural products in the wild, and each entry is also accompanied by a brief description that includes evolutionary explanations for the wide variety of colors and patterns, from camouflage designed to protect against predation, to thermoregulatory adaptations, to adjustments for the circumstances of a particular habitat or season. Throughout the book are fascinating facts to pique the curiosity of binocular-toting birdwatchers and budding amateurs alike. Female mallards, for instance, invest more energy to produce larger eggs when faced with the genetic windfall of an attractive mate. Some seabirds, like the cliff-dwelling guillemot, have adapted to produce long, pointed eggs, whose uneven weight distribution prevents them from rolling off rocky ledges into the sea. A visually stunning and scientifically engaging guide to six hundred of the most intriguing eggs, from the pea-sized progeny of the smallest of hummingbirds to the eggs of the largest living bird, the ostrich, which can weigh up to five pounds, The Book of Eggs offers readers a rare, up-close look at these remarkable forms of animal life.



Egg Nest

Egg   Nest Author Rosamond Wolff Purcell
ISBN-10 0674031725
Release 2008
Pages 222
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The beauty of the robinâe(tm)s egg is not lost on the child who discovers the nest, nor on the collector of natureâe(tm)s marvels. Such instances of wonder find fitting expression in the photographs of Rosamond Purcell, whose work captures the intricacy of nests and the aesthetic perfection of bird eggs. Mining the ornithological treasures of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Purcell produces pictures as lovely and various as the artifacts she photographs. The dusky blue egg of an emu becomes a planet. A woodpeckerâe(tm)s nest bears an uncanny resemblance to a wooden shoe. A resourceful rock dove weaves together scrap metal and spent fireworks. A dreamscape of dancing monkeys emerges from the calligraphic markings of a murre egg. Alongside Purcellâe(tm)s photographs, Linnea Hall and René Corado offer an engaging history of egg collecting, the provenance of the specimens in the photographs, and the biology, conservation, and ecology of the birds that produced them. They highlight the scientific value that eggs and nest hold for understanding and conserving birds in the wild, as well as the aesthetic charge they carry for us. How has evolution shaped the egg or directed the design of the nest? How do the photographs convey such infinitesimal and yet momentous happenstance? The objects in Egg & Nest are specimens of natural history, and in Purcellâe(tm)s renderings, they are also the most natural art.



Ten Thousand Birds

Ten Thousand Birds Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 9781400848836
Release 2014-03-01
Pages 544
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Ten Thousand Birds provides a thoroughly engaging and authoritative history of modern ornithology, tracing how the study of birds has been shaped by a succession of visionary and often-controversial personalities, and by the unique social and scientific contexts in which these extraordinary individuals worked. This beautifully illustrated book opens in the middle of the nineteenth century when ornithology was a museum-based discipline focused almost exclusively on the anatomy, taxonomy, and classification of dead birds. It describes how in the early 1900s pioneering individuals such as Erwin Stresemann, Ernst Mayr, and Julian Huxley recognized the importance of studying live birds in the field, and how this shift thrust ornithology into the mainstream of the biological sciences. The book tells the stories of eccentrics like Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a pathological liar who stole specimens from museums and quite likely murdered his wife, and describes the breathtaking insights and discoveries of ambitious and influential figures such as David Lack, Niko Tinbergen, Robert MacArthur, and others who through their studies of birds transformed entire fields of biology. Ten Thousand Birds brings this history vividly to life through the work and achievements of those who advanced the field. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews, this fascinating book reveals how research on birds has contributed more to our understanding of animal biology than the study of just about any other group of organisms.



Cuckoo

Cuckoo Author Nick Davies
ISBN-10 9781620409534
Release 2015-04-07
Pages 320
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A gifted biologist's careful and beguiling study of why cuckoos have got away with tricking other birds into hatching and raising their young for thousands of years. The familiar call of the common cuckoo, "cuck-oo,†? has been a harbinger of spring ever since our ancestors walked out of Africa many thousands of years ago. However, for naturalist and scientist Nick Davies, the call is an invitation to solve an enduring puzzle: how does the cuckoo get away with laying its eggs in the nests of other birds and tricking them into raising young cuckoos rather than their own offspring? Early observers who noticed a little warbler feeding a monstrously large cuckoo chick concluded the cuckoo's lack of parental care was the result of faulty design by the Creator, and that the hosts chose to help the poor cuckoo. These quaint views of bad design and benevolence were banished after Charles Darwin proposed that the cuckoo tricks the hosts in an evolutionary battle, where hosts evolve better defenses against cuckoos and cuckoos, in turn, evolve better trickery to outwit the hosts. For the last three decades, Davies has employed observation and field experiments to unravel the details of this evolutionary "arms race†? between cuckoos and their hosts. Like a detective, Davies and his colleagues studied adult cuckoo behavior, cuckoo egg markings, and cuckoo chick begging calls to discover exactly how cuckoos trick their hosts. For birding and evolution aficionados, The Cuckoo is a lyrical and scientifically satisfying exploration of one of nature's most astonishing and beautiful adaptations.



Nests Eggs and Incubation

Nests  Eggs  and Incubation Author S. James Reynolds
ISBN-10 9780198718666
Release 2015-08-13
Pages 312
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Nests, Eggs, and Incubation brings together a global team of leading authorities to provide a comprehensive overview of the fascinating and diverse field of avian reproduction. Starting with a new assessment of the evolution of avian reproductive biology in light of recent research, the book goes on to cover four broad areas: the nest, the egg, incubation, and the study of avian reproduction. New research on nest structures, egg traits, and life history is incorporated, whilst contemporary methodologies such as self-contained temperature probes and citizen science are also discussed. Applied chapters describe how biological knowledge can be applied to challenges such as urbanisation and climate change. The book concludes by suggesting priorities for future research. This book builds upon the foundations laid down by Charles Deeming's 2002 work Avian Incubation (available for readers of this book to access online for free), much of which remains relevant today. Read in conjunction with this previous volume, it provides an up-to-date and thorough review of egg biology, nest function, and incubation behaviour, which will be an essential resource for students of avian biology, as well as both professional and amateur ornithologists working in the field of avian reproduction.



Birds Eggs

Birds  Eggs Author Michael Walters
ISBN-10 1564581756
Release 1994
Pages 256
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A visual identification guide to bird's eggs provides a concise description of each specimen, shape, characteristics and distinguishing features, and offers information on nests and bird families



The Rarest Bird in the World The Search for the Nechisar Nightjar

The Rarest Bird in the World  The Search for the Nechisar Nightjar Author Vernon R L Head
ISBN-10 9781681771069
Release 2016-03-15
Pages 272
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Part detective story, part love affair, and pure adventure storytelling at its best, a celebration of the thrill of exploration and the lure of wild places during the search for the elusive Nechisar Nightjar. In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia. On that expedition, they collected more than two dozen specimens, saw more than three hundred species of birds, and a plethora of rare butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals, and plants. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world. This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Camprimulgus Solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream. Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.



The Red Canary

The Red Canary Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 9781408849439
Release 2014-01-30
Pages 320
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The creation of Dolly the sheep in the 1990s was for many people the start of a new era: the age of genetically modified animals. However, the idea was not new for in the 1920s an amateur scientist, Hans Duncker, decided to genetically engineer a red canary. Though his experiments failed, they paved the way for others to succeed when it was recognised that the canary needed to be both a product of nature and nurture. This highly original narrative, of huge contemporary relevance, reveals how the obsession with turning the wild canary from green to red heralded the exciting but controversial developments in genetic manipulation.



Hatch

Hatch Author Roxie Munro
ISBN-10 0761458824
Release 2011
Pages 40
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Nine birds and their eggs and nests



The Wisdom of Birds

The Wisdom of Birds Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 0747598223
Release 2011
Pages 437
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The perfect book for birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists everywhere.



Promiscuity

Promiscuity Author Tim Birkhead
ISBN-10 0674006666
Release 2000
Pages 272
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Birkhead reveals a world in which males and females vie with each other as they strive to maximize their reproductive success. Color illustrations.



Epic Eggs

Epic Eggs Author Jennifer Sartell
ISBN-10 9780760359747
Release 2017-11-01
Pages 160
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This isn't a typical egg cookbook or guide to raising chickens, Epic Eggs takes a deep dive on the eggs themselves and tells you how to raise birds that will produce the best eggs you've ever seen. It may be true that most poultry found on small homesteads or in backyards especially are viewed as pets, but they are inarguably pets with benefits--namely eggs. In Epic Eggs, homesteader and writer Jennifer Sartell looks at the eggs of the most common types of poultry you’d find in your backyard: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, and quail. Don’t jump to conclusions! This isn’t an egg cookbook or a guide to raising poultry. Jennifer delves into the eggs themselves and explains reproductive systems, egg anatomy, and how and why different colors are distributed to egg shells. Jennifer will show you a variety breeds of birds, and what sizes, shapes, and even colors of egg they produce; from white to blue, brown, chocolate, olive, and speckled, plus heritage breeds and how to breed for specific colors. Illustrated with fantastic color photography of eggs and their birds, Epic Eggs goes on to address how to optimize living conditionsand diet for the healthiest and most-flavorful eggs, the process of grading and storing eggs, and the eternal washing debate. There’s also discussion of nutrition, baking, cooking, preserving, pickling, and dehydrating. The book ends with advice for homesteaders looking to create business plans and a section on troubleshooting.



The Feather Thief

The Feather Thief Author Kirk Wallace Johnson
ISBN-10 9781101981627
Release 2018-04-24
Pages 320
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“Fascinating from the first page to the last—you won’t be able to put it down.” —Southern Living A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty for readers of The Stranger in the Woods, The Lost City of Z, and The Orchid Thief. On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.



Cosmosapiens Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe

Cosmosapiens  Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe Author John Hands
ISBN-10 9781468313246
Release 2016-02-16
Pages 704
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The book that transforms our understanding of what we are and where we came from. Specialist scientific fields are developing at incredibly swift speeds, but what can they really tell us about how the universe began and how we humans evolved to play such a dominant role on Earth? John Hands’s extraordinarily ambitious quest is to bring together this scientific knowledge and evaluate without bias or preconception all the theories and evidence about the origin and evolution of matter, life, consciousness, and humankind. This astonishing book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism. In the clearest possible prose it differentiates the firmly established from the speculative and examines the claims of various fields such as string theory to approach a unified theory of everything. In doing so it challenges the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. Its striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that lead to the unique emergence in humans of a self-reflective consciousness that enables us to determine our future evolution. This groundbreaking book is destined to become a classic of scientific thinking. (67 black and white illustrations)