SCIENCES

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think

Penguin Pr. May 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780735223011. $28. NAT HIST
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Ackerman (The Genius of Birds) contends that recent research on how birds communicate, work, play, parent, and think reveals that the creatures are remarkably intelligent. The complex behavior of birds recounted here, including the greater ani, the kea parrot, and the brush turkey, demonstrates that birds have sophisticated mental abilities previously unrecognized by conventional avian research. Ackerman supports her thesis with descriptions of the behavior of an entertaining variety of birds from across the world. She brings scientific research alive with personal field observations and accounts of her encounters with colorful and fascinating birds. Throughout, Ackerman reminds readers that birds are thinking beings—their brains are wired differently than those of mammals, giving them increased brain power despite their small size. She further makes the case that bird intelligence shows that humankind is not alone in using language and tools or constructing complex structures and manipulating other creatures.
VERDICT This work will engage all readers interested in learning more about birds and natural history.

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