Birds are intelligent, sociable creatures that exhibit a wide array of behaviours from mobbing and mimicking to mating and joint nesting. Why do they behave as they do? Bringing to light the remarkable actions of birds through examples from species around the world, HOW TO READ A BIRD presents engaging vignettes about the private lives of birds, all explained in an evolutionary context.
We discover how birds find food, relying on foraging techniques, tools and thievery. We learn about the courtship rituals through which birds choose, compete for, woo and win mates; the familial conflicts that crop up among parents, offspring and siblings; and the stresses and strains of nesting, including territory defence, nepotism and relationship sabotage. We see how birds respond to threats and danger - through such unique practices as murmurations, specific alarm calls, distraction displays and antipredator nest design. We also read about how birds change certain behaviours based on climate.