Bird Talk

An exploration of avian communication

Bird Talk An exploration of avian communication
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Format: Hardback, 192 Pages
ISBN: 9781782409823
Publisher: Ivy Press
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Bird Talk begins by defining the wide variety of ways birds communicate, using songs, calls, plumes and dances. The variety of communication uses are outlined, and the way that birds detect and receive signals. Birds have keen eyesight, and see a broader colour spectrum than the human eye to include UV light, so that plumage pattern and use on its own or in combination with dancing and strutting can convey a wealth of information.
Birds communicate to defend their territory and to attract mates. Chicks and parents rely on communication for recognition, begging and signs of quality. Birds have sophisticated warning calls, with some able to tell their flock what kind of predator is threatening them. A good number of birds – the corvids, hummingbirds and the songbirds – actually learn songs and calls so that different flocks have different dialects. This has concerning implications for bird survival if environment loss demands forced migration. Today’s world is noisy for birds, and Bird Talk explores how avian life is adapting to these new challenges.

The author

Jeremy Hyman, PhD, teaches ornithology and animal behavior at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. He studies the interplay of cooperative and competitive interactions in territorial communication in birds. He has written birding columns for a regional newspaper and gives talks to birding enthusiasts.

Barbara Ballentine is Associate Professor at Western Carolina University. Ballentine’s work focuses on the evolutionary mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation and population divergence in animals, primarily birds. Using highly-integrative and experimental approaches with both field and laboratory studies Ballentine specifically addresses how sexual selection favors reliable mating signals; how natural selection constrains the expression of mating signals; and mechanisms of phenotypic (morphological and behavioral) variation between populations.

Dr. Mike Webster is the Robert G. Engel Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, and also Director of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He has studied the effects of ecological factors on bird breeding behavior, the ways that sexual selection shapes courtship signals like plumage color and song, and the effects of those signals on the process of speciation. His research focuses primarily on Australian fairy-wrens, North American wood warblers, and Neotropical blackbirds.

Reader reviews


Format: Hardback, 192 Pages
ISBN: 9781782409823
Illustrations: 150
Size: 7.992 in x 10 in / 203 mm x 254 mm