habits and behavior of feeding-station birds
when they are not at your feeder
by John V. Dennis
This is a nice enough guide to bird behavior. Unlike the subtitle claims, there\’s actually quite a lot in here about behaviors seen at bird feeders, but that\’s always a starting point to lead you to see what birds are doing elsewhere in the yard, edges of forest or city parks. The chapters cover migration patterns, what attracts birds to feeding stations (including what color catches their eye quickest- according to this author it\’s white), what foods different species prefer, why they would choose human-offered foods, what kind of space makes a feeder more likely to be visited, how birds use provided water, how they take dust baths or sunbathe or deliberately fly through smoke or even put ants on their skin (reasons for this unclear). How they warn each other and mob up against enemies, what types of friction or aggression you will see among common birds, how they use plants and specific habitat types for shelter and natural food sources, and avoid or suffer through bad weather. Also how they utilize houses and other building structures. Differences in bird-feeding tendencies between America and Europe. The author lives in the Eastern side of the United States, so happily a lot of his personal observations and notes on habitats and native plants used by birds were very relevant for me. It does feel a bit dated and simplistic- the author quotes Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz as making recent observations in the field- and this comment made me raise my eyebrows: Since around 1850, North America, as well as Europe, has been in the kindly grip of a warming trend. Thanks to the milder weather, a number of animals have pushed their ranges northward . . .
The illustrations are nicely done. Although not as detailed or scientific as some other books I\’ve read on bird behavior, I think this one would be appreciated by anyone who enjoys watching birds in their yard and wonders about their interactions with each other and other various behaviors.
Rating: 3/5 201 pages, 1981