Search Results for "the-most-perfect-thing-inside-and-outside-a-bird-s-egg"

The Most Perfect Thing

The Most Perfect Thing

Inside (and Outside) a BirdÂ?s Egg

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • ISBN: 1632863715
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 304
  • View: 6373
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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

Inside (and Outside) a BirdÂ?s Egg

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • ISBN: 1408851261
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 304
  • View: 2180
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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

What It's Like to Be a Bird

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • ISBN: 0802779689
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 288
  • View: 3017
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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.

Ten Thousand Birds

Ten Thousand Birds

Ornithology since Darwin

  • Author: Tim Birkhead,Jo Wimpenny,Bob Montgomerie
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • ISBN: 1400848830
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 544
  • View: 3139
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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.

Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs

Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs

Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its Shell

  • Author: Carrol L. Henderson
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • ISBN: 0292779402
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 200
  • View: 4774
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Before modern binoculars and cameras made it possible to observe birds closely in the wild, many people collected eggs as a way of learning about birds. Serious collectors called their avocation "oology" and kept meticulous records for each set of eggs: the bird's name, the species reference number, the quantity of eggs in the clutch, the date and location where the eggs were collected, and the collector's name. These documented egg collections, which typically date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, now provide an important baseline from which to measure changes in the numbers, distribution, and nesting patterns of many species of birds. In Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs, Carrol L. Henderson uses the vast egg collection of Ralph Handsaker, an Iowa farmer, as the starting point for a fascinating account of oology and its role in the origins of modern birdwatching, scientific ornithology, and bird conservation in North America. Henderson describes Handsaker's and other oologists' collecting activities, which included not only gathering bird eggs in the wild but also trading and purchasing eggs from collectors around the world. Henderson then spotlights sixty of the nearly five hundred bird species represented in the Handsaker collection, using them to tell the story of how birds such as the Snowy Egret, Greater Prairie Chicken, Atlantic Puffin, and Wood Duck have fared over the past hundred years or so since their eggs were gathered. Photos of the eggs and historical drawings and photos of the birds illustrate each species account. Henderson also links these bird histories to major milestones in bird conservation and bird protection laws in North America from 1875 to the present.

The Book of Eggs

The Book of Eggs

A Life-Size Guide to the Eggs of Six Hundred of the World's Bird Species

  • Author: Mark E. Hauber
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • ISBN: 022605781X
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 656
  • View: 4087
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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.

Cuckoo

Cuckoo

Cheating by Nature

  • Author: Nick Davies
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • ISBN: 1620409534
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 320
  • View: 424
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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.

The Red Canary

The Red Canary

The Story of the First Genetically Engineered Animal

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: A&C Black
  • ISBN: 1408849437
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 320
  • View: 9235
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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.

Nests, Eggs, and Incubation

Nests, Eggs, and Incubation

New ideas about avian reproduction

  • Author: D. Charles Deeming,S. James Reynolds
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • ISBN: 0191028797
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 312
  • View: 8058
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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.

Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour

Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour

  • Author: Mike Hansell
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • ISBN: 9781139429085
  • Category: Science
  • Page: N.A
  • View: 6811
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Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour provides a broad view of our understanding of the biology of the nests, bowers and tools made by birds. It illustrates how, among vertebrates, the building abilities of birds are more impressive and consistent than for any other builders other than ourselves, yet birds seem to require no special equipment, and use quite uncomplicated behaviour. In doing so, the book raises general issues in the field of behavioural ecology including the costs of reproduction, sexual selection and the organisation and complexity of behaviour. Written for students and researchers of animal behaviour, behavioural ecology and ornithology, it will nevertheless make fascinating reading for architects and engineers interested in understanding how structures are created by animals.

The Magpies: The Ecology and Behaviour of Black-Billed and Yellow-Billed Magpies

The Magpies: The Ecology and Behaviour of Black-Billed and Yellow-Billed Magpies

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: A&C Black
  • ISBN: 1408137771
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 272
  • View: 8078
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Magpies are unmistakeable in their appearance, voice and extrovert, arrogant manner. While their persecution at the hands of gamekeepers over the last hundred years has made them wary and difficult to approach, a number of recent field studies, both in Europe and North America, have successfully revealed the intricacies of the magpie way of life. Two species of magpie feature in this book, the Black-billed Magpie, familiar to most Europeans, which occurs throughout much of the northern hemisphere, and the Yellow-billed Magpie, which is confined to California. Tim Birkhead has studied both species, and has produced a fascinating account of their ecology and behaviour. Many of the results from his ten-year study of magpies in northern England are published here for the first time. Particularly revealing however is his comparison of the two species and of their different races. Magpies occur in a wide range of habitats, including English farmland, the deserts of North America, the mountains of Saudi Arabia and the windswept plateaus of Tibet. As this book explains, magpies are able to exploit this diversity of habitats largely through their remarkably flexible social behaviour. The Magpies covers all aspects of their lives, including their marital relationships, food hoarding behaviour, longevity and survival, nesting behaviour, breeding success and their controversial relationship with man. The text is supported by numerous photographs, diagrams and tables, and superb illustrations by David Quinn. Illustrated by David Quinn

Manual of Ornithology

Manual of Ornithology

Avian Structure & Function

  • Author: Noble S. Proctor,Patrick J. Lynch
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • ISBN: 9780300076196
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 340
  • View: 2727
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This visual guide to the structure and anatomy of birds contains more than 200 specially prepared accurate drawings. The text is written for undergraduate students and to bird lovers in general, and discusses why birds look and act the way they do.

The Wisdom of Birds

The Wisdom of Birds

An Illustrated History of Ornithology

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing UK
  • ISBN: 9780747598220
  • Category: Birds
  • Page: 437
  • View: 2610
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The perfect book for birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists everywhere.

Birds' Eggs

Birds' Eggs

  • Author: Michael Walters,Mark B. Robbins
  • Publisher: Dk Pub
  • ISBN: 9781564581754
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 256
  • View: 5171
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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

Hatch!

Hatch!

  • Author: Roxie Munro
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
  • ISBN: 9780761458821
  • Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
  • Page: 40
  • View: 2733
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Nine birds and their eggs and nests

Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs

Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs

How the Struggle for Survival Has Shaped Birds and Their Behavior

  • Author: Roger Lederer
  • Publisher: Timber Press
  • ISBN: 1604697520
  • Category: Nature
  • Page: 288
  • View: 9358
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“Reveals the strange and wondrous adaptations birds rely on to get by.” —National Audubon Society When we see a bird flying from branch to branch happily chirping, it is easy to imagine they lead a simple life of freedom, flight, and feathers. What we don’t see is the arduous, life-threatening challenges they face at every moment. Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs guides the reader through the myriad, and often almost miraculous, things that birds do every day to merely stay alive. Like the goldfinch, which manages extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter. Or urban birds, which navigate traffic through a keen understanding of posted speed limits. In engaging and accessible prose, Roger Lederer shares how and why birds use their sensory abilities to see ultraviolet, find food without seeing it, fly thousands of miles without stopping, change their songs in noisy cities, navigate by smell, and much more.

Promiscuity

Promiscuity

An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition

  • Author: Tim Birkhead
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • ISBN: 9780674006669
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 272
  • View: 1388
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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.

Lapwings, Loons and Lousy Jacks

Lapwings, Loons and Lousy Jacks

The How and Why of Bird Names

  • Author: Ray Reedman
  • Publisher: Pelagic Publishing Ltd
  • ISBN: 1784270938
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 272
  • View: 1872
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The Lapwing once had many regional names; the Loon has a British-American identity crisis and the respectable-sounding Apostlebird is often called a Lousy Jack. Why do bird names, both common and scientific, change over time and why do they vary so much between different parts of the English-speaking world? Wandering through the scientific and cultural history of ornithology takes us to the heart of understanding the long relationship between birds and people.Lapwings, Loons and Lousy Jacks uncovers the stories behind the incredible diversity of bird names, explains what many scientific names actually mean and takes a look at the history of the system by which we name birds. Ray Reedman explores the natural history and folklore behind bird names, in doing so unlocking the mystery of the name Scoter, the last unexplained common name of a British bird species.

Pawpaw

Pawpaw

In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit

  • Author: Andrew Moore
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • ISBN: 1603585974
  • Category: Cooking
  • Page: 320
  • View: 9628
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The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered. So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one? In Pawpaw—a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category—author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years. As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do.

Focus

Focus

The Hidden Driver of Excellence

  • Author: Daniel Goleman
  • Publisher: A&C Black
  • ISBN: 1408845970
  • Category: Business & Economics
  • Page: 320
  • View: 5173
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For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, surprising, and important. In Focus, he delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Goleman boils down attention research into a three parts: inner, other, and outer focus. Goleman shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business. Those who excel rely on what Goleman calls Smart Practices such as mindfulness meditation, focused preparation and recovery, positive emotions and connections, and mental 'prosthetics' that help them improve habits, add new skills, and sustain excellence. Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus reveals what distinguishes experts from amateurs and stars from average performers.