Where Song Began: Australia's Birds And How They Changed TheWorld

Where Song Began: Australia's Birds And How They Changed TheWorld 6

Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

by Tim Low

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 25/06/2014

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Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation.

Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and to be large and long-lived.

They're also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds. But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin's time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world's scientists until 2004 - because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, few Australians are aware of the ramifications, something which prompted the writing of this book.

Tim Low has a rare gift for illuminating complex ideas in highly readable prose, and making of the whole a dynamic story. Here he brilliantly explains how our birds came to be so extraordinary, including the large role played by the foods they consume (birds, too, are what they eat), and by our climate, soil, fire, and Australia's legacy as a part of Gondwana. The story of its birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of Australia itself, and one that continues to unfold, so much having changed in the last decade about what we know of our ancient past. Where Song Began also shines a light on New Guinea as a biological region of Australia, as much a part of the continent as Tasmania.

This is a work that goes far beyond the birds themselves to explore the relationships between Australia's birds and its people, and the ways in which scientific prejudice have hindered our understanding.

ISBN:
9780670077960
Category:
Birds (ornithology)
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
25-06-2014
Publisher:
PENGUIN BOOKS AUSTRALIA
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
416
Dimensions (mm):
235x159x34mm
Weight:
0.55kg
Tim Low

Tim Low is highly regarded as a biologist and writer. He is the prize-winning author of Feral Future and The New Nature, both published by Penguin, and Wild Food Plants of Australia.

He is currently co-editor of Wildlife Australia magazine, to which he has been a long-term contributor.

Tim also works as an environmental consultant, and his reports, books, articles and talks have contributed to ecological thought and environmental policy in Australia and more widely.

  • Arrives in 2-4 days for most Australian capitals.
  • Please allow additional time for regional areas.
  • Tracking is available for this item via Australia Post.

Customer Reviews

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  • Where Song Began

    by on

    I bought this book to give to overseas visitors who where amazed by the calls of our birds. It is an accessible and informative book with a great story to tell of Australia's birds.

  • Birds, birds, birds!

    by on

    Tim Low brings together years of scientific research in a highly readable and fascinating exploration of the origins of birds around the world, the effect of their environment on them and they on it, and the key impact particulary of Australia's feathered finest on the rest of the world.

  • A standout of 2014

    by on

    Australia has provided the world with intelligent, loud, unusual and aggressive birds. They're also ecologically more powerful. This has been a winner since release and is our recommendation for anyone interested in birds, history or Australia itself.

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