‘Jennifer Ackerman’s book is ... very important. Her engaging survey of recent findings about bird acumen delivers so many surprises it ends up a revelation.’ - Tim Low, author of Where Song Began
For decades, people have written off birds as largely witless, driven by instinct and capable of only the simplest mental processes. But this just isn't true.
In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence and social smarts. They make complex navigational decisions, sing in regional accents, and use tools. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They kiss to console one another. They share. They give gifts. They teach. They blackmail their parents. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve...
And they do it all with brains so tiny each would fit inside a walnut.
Reviewed by Ben at Angus & Robertson Bookworld:
The writing, clear and witty, presents ground-breaking research in a way that doesn't exaggerate the meaning of results but rather encourages the reader to engage and ask questions of their own. This book lets birds, from city pigeons to emperor penguins, stand out and sing in their own right rather taking the easy route of glorifying them in an anthropomorphic kind of way.
Easily the best science writing I've read this year and one of the best cover designs too. A book to watch out for.