Bird Brains by Candace Savage - Book Review

Corvids are revered in many indigenous cultures and admired for their intelligence and wisdom. Yet, the phrases ‘bird brains’ and ‘feather brains’ often used derogatively emerged based on the incorrect assumption that birds are dumb, unthinking and unfeeling creatures.

Renowned author of natural history Candace Savage distils some of the incredible abilities of the corvids discovered by researchers and presents them in this beautiful book with over 60 spectacular photographs by the top international photographers.

In one experiment, for instance, a raven was given the task of identifying the odd-shaped object in an array of six otherwise identical items. Its performance put it on par with gorillas and chimps, our own species’ closest relatives.” (p 18, The Secret of their Success)

In one short summer season, a single nutcracker is estimated to cache between 22,000 and 33,000 sees in up to 7,500 different places. To survive the winter and spring, it must recover about a third of these tiny reserves, all of which are buried in loose soil. Although most caches are made on windswept ridges or south-facing slopes where the snow cover is light, nutccrackers have been known to unearth caches from drifts that lie hip deep.” (p 120, The Nutcracker Never Forgets).

This exquisite coffee table book is a great and hard to put down. Young and old can learn more about the birds lifestyle, cognition and place in folklore without being bogged in the description detailed scientific research.




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