Book Review: One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives by Bernd Heinrich

A stream of consciousness on observing birds sprinkled with facts and hypotheses. I’m not sure if I can explain more. I listened to this book, and it feels like it was only a dream—a pleasant one for sure. But I’m not sure if I hold on to a single fact. Except one where Bernd Heinrich hid a tube inside a nest to observe the cocktail the chicks got. Surprisingly many ants, bugs, and larva find themselves to feed the young. 

Actually, no, not a stream of consciousness, maybe more like an ode to birdwatching. I almost wanted to find a quiet corner to watch birds come and go like my father did. Bernd Heinrich stresses the importance of actual field observation to note the subjects’ peculiarities and test the hypotheses scientists have. There was an example of how a chasing behavior was seen as an aggressive competition between males to ensure the best breeding grounds. This seemed odd against the background that the male birds flew together to the area and were seen sitting together. Such observations challenged the old assumptions.

A fantastic diary-like book for bird enthusiasts. 

Thank you for reading! Have an amazing day ❤

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