Beaks, Bones & Bird Songs

Beaks, Bones & Bird Songs

How the Struggle for Survival Has Shaped Birds and Their Behavior

Roger J. Lederer


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This guided tour through bird behavior by the author of Latin for Bird Lovers “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. In Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs, ornithologist Roger J. Lederer guides you through the myriad, often nearly miraculous, things that birds do every day just to stay alive.

The goldfinch withstands extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter. Urban birds navigate traffic through a keen understanding of posted speed limits. In engaging and accessible prose, 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.

“A trove of information for true bird nerds.” —Bird Watcher’s Digest