Birds for All Seasons

Jeffery Boswall, Author BBC Ne Publications $0 (160p) ISBN 978-0-563-20453-4
This print companion to a BBC television series that is to air here stands on its own merit; the lucid, well-organized text with its comprehensive treatment of bird life is outstanding. Boswell, an ornithologist and film producer, uses as a prototype the European blackbird, following one pair through the seasonsthis species is a thrush, related to our robin. His account of the blackbirds serves as a launching pad for examples of behavior and adaptation for many other species. Topics covered include courtship, nest-building and nesting strategies (defense), parasitism, egg-laying and embryo development, migration and the avian response to light. We learn that the European cuckoo lays eggs only in nests of the same species as her foster parents, that a green heron uses bread as fish bait, that habitat destruction is responsible for recent extinctions. Boswell discusses tool use by birds, pointing out that the beak is the most remarkable tool. He explains egg coloration, imprinting and the ``milk'' secreted by pigeons, penguins and flamingos. Lavishly illustrated, this is a fine book. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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