Posted by: atowhee | June 5, 2021


If you relish knowing more than the bird’s species name, or whether it migrates, or eats sunflower seeds. If you REALLY like knowing about the that bird’s life, living, breeding, death, diet and society, and so much more…if you are THAT kind of birder (I must readily confess I used to make fun of trip leaders who didn’t know who Steller was, or what kind of nest a species built) this is the book you must imbibe, digest, enjoy, relish.

What’s It Like To Be a Bird? By Daivd Allen Sibley. Knopf. New York. 2020.

Click on ant image for a full-screen view.

This is a book with plenty of Sibley’s impressive art work, sure. But most of all it is a treasury of great avian factoids. How many hundreds of times PER MINUTE a hummer’s heart must beat. How they and some other small songbirds use torpor to survive the cold. Why the drumming woodpecker’s brain does not turn to pudding. How swifts can fly for months without landing. How raptors can see well enough to hunt at high speeds. How flycatchers can see those flies they catch. And how that huge variety of beaks work in so many complex and variable ways


  1. I’ve heard wonderful comments about Sibley’s book – I need to add it too my collection.

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