Friday, November 11, 2011

"Birdology" Sy Montgomery

Although I waited anxiously to read Sy Montgomery’s book “Birdology: Adventures With Hip Hop Parrots, Cantankerous Cassowaries, Crabby Crows, Peripatetic Pigeons, Hens, Hawks and Hummingbirds” I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed when I first finished it. But months passed and I went back to it – first to re-read the chapter on hummingbird rehabilitation, then the one on chickens then the one on hawking…and now I’m sure I’ll be going back to this book often.

I think I was fully expecting something epic such as “Journey of the Pink Dolphins”, “Search for the Golden Moon Bear” or “Spell of the Tiger” a full-on immersion expedition, intense, exotic and emotional. But “birdiness” is not a conveniently packed, uniform quality, nor is it located anywhere specific – you might go to New Zealand to see a particular bird but you can also see a particular bird out your window. In effect birds are incredibly diverse from pre-historic looking predators to something so common as to be invisible such as a pigeon; they might elicit feelings of tenderness in the form of a baby hummingbird, or of moral uneasiness in the shape of a hunting falcon or a highly intelligent parrot kept as a pet.

With this in mind “Birdology” assumes the perfect shape with its self-contained snapshot chapters that each address not only a particular species but also a more generic characteristic of birds. As weird as it might sound it’s a book that I love now even though I thought it was only o.k. when I first read it almost seven months ago.

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