Monday, November 28, 2016

Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur by Sy Montgomery (2010)

This is the second time I’ve read Birdology and it is as charming and engaging this time around as it was the first time.  

“When animals can manage to live with us, we hate them for that.  We consider them less than animals.  But what does that say about us?  That any animal that chooses to live with us can’t be any good?”  Montgomery quotes a “thoughtful young woman” from San Jose State University, who wrote a paper for a class called Sociology of the Environment on our hatred of crows. That’s true about so many wild creatures that now live with us:  coyotes (despised), skunks (despised), opossums (feared and despised); rats (beyond despised); spiders (despised); deer (intense dislike for many people); wild turkeys (feared); mountain lions (feared); black bears (we are more annoyed by bears than fear or despise them; annoyed and bemused actually); pigeons (despised); squirrels (usually get a pass, but feared for disease); bats (despised and feared); gophers and moles (despised because they disrupt the order of our lawns); mice (hated - but written about in countless children’s books); raccoons (feared and despised); lizards (feared but also kind of ignored).  Snakes can essentially go without saying.

Some animals that live with among us get a free pass, as long as they stay out of our house.  These tend to be small and pretty - butterflies; hummingbirds; other songbirds (although I know many people who curse mockingbirds); owls and hawks; ladybugs; grasshoppers and crickets (for the most part); turtles; frogs and toads.

Of course, domestic animals don’t count.  We love our dogs and cats.  


Any book is a good book that provides some food for thought.


Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living DinosaurBirdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur by Sy Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolute delight. Montgomery's "adventures with a pack of hens, a peck of pigeons, cantakerous crows, fierce falcons, hip hop parrots, baby hummingbirds, and one murderously big living dinosaur" will keep you interested and learning the entire way through. Who knew that chickens were so smart, that crows and humans had so much in commons, that parrots are the only other species besides us that can shake their booties in time to the music, that cassowaries are so elusive, that falcons never forget, that hummingbirds are little murderers... in wide-eyed wonder I kept on learning new facts every few pages. (2010)

(2016) Second time I've read this book, and found it just as charming and engaging as the first time. Any book that can provide food for thought not once but twice is a strong and good book for me. Montgomery is a great writer.

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