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Bird Brain


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Table of Contents

Foreword 8 Introduction 10 1 From Bird Brain to Feathered Ape 16 2 Where Did I Hide that Worm? 40 3 Getting the Message Across 64 4 Feathered Friends (and Enemies) 88 5 The Right Tool for the Job 112 6 Know Thyself, and Other 136 7 No Longer Bird-Brains 160 Glossary 185 References 186 Further Reading & Index 188 Acknowledgements 192

About the Author

Nathan Emery is senior lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary University of London. His research interests focus on what corvids, apes, and parrots understand about their social and physical worlds, especially others' mental states, insight, and imagination, as well as the psychology and evolution of innovation and creativity. He is currently working with the ravens at the Tower of London. He is the coeditor of Social Intelligence: From Brain to Culture and The Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behaviour, and is on the editorial board of the journals Animal Cognition and Journal of Comparative Psychology. He is the author of more than eighty publications, including papers in Nature, Science, and Current Biology. His work has been extensively covered by international newspapers and magazines, in books, and on TV.


One of's 12 Best Books About Birds and Birding in 2016 "Complex ideas are made intelligible with the aid of sharp, and often stunning, design--gorgeous close-up photographs and smart infographics. The lovely depictions of the experiments supporting the science are particularly noteworthy."--Library Journal "Our understanding of bird brains and behaviour has been revolutionised by recent studies of avian cognition, intelligence, brain anatomy, migration and tool use, and Nathan Emery, primatologist-turned-ornithologist, has been at the forefront of this revolution. He is well placed, therefore, to provide us with this very welcome summary of our current state of knowledge."--Tim Birkhead, Times Higher Education "This book is a fascinating exploration of how birds learn, think and feel. The book looks at the structure of the avian brain and the abilities it provides to our feathered neighbors. It does this without being stuffy or beyond the reach of the general public with an interest in birds. Short essays on each topic allow a person to explore the book in snippets or to skip around the book to read whatever catches your eye."--A Charm of Finches blog "The book is beautifully illustrated with high resolution pictures showing the diversity of birds and describing the complex methods birds use to successfully survive in an ever-changing world. The book also focuses on the relationships of birds to other animals and the environment."--NSTA Recommends "How big is a bird's brain? Big enough has always been my answer. The tiny hummingbird weighs less than an ounce and yet it can remember where every flower in its territory is located and how long it takes to refill with nectar. Big enough. A new book by Dr. Nathan Emery goes well beyond my analysis with interesting, fun and informative presentation on the latest research into avian intelligence... The book is beautifully illustrated and provides an engaging exploration of the avian mind."--Sam Crowe, "[Bird Brain] is really great, the best book out there right now on animal intelligence, possibly the best book so far this year on birds. This is the kind of book you want laying around the house or classroom to learn stuff from. If you are writing or teaching about anything in evolution or behavior, this is a great way to key into the current work on bird intelligence."--Greg Laden's Science Blog "This lovely book combines pictures of bird species, diagrams of experimental situations, and brain anatomy to provide information about bird intelligence. The illustrations are superb! Each short topic is covered in a pair of facing pages, allowing the reader to get clear and simple coverage of the specific subject matter."--Choice "An in-depth look at recent research and fascinating lab experiments, [Bird Brain] overturns any notion that birds are somehow dumb. Instead, it argues with an overwhelming amount of evidence that a number of bird species should be considered more as 'feathered apes.'"--Jeremy Hance, The Guardian "This book is well-grounded in the bird science of the past 20 years but at the same time it will be perfectly accessible to curious weekend bird enthusiasts. It is an informative and visually rich book."--Paul Nicholson, London Free Press "Bird Brain, by Nathan Emery, is the best current book on animal intelligence, and one of the best bird books you'll be able to lay your hands on right now."--Greg Laden's Blog "This fascinating and surprisingly concise book explores the fundamental question of what is intelligence, then moves on to meticulously refute the 'bird brain' myth... This oversized book is a pleasure to read, and I especially love the richly detailed illustrations and how they highlight the concepts presented.", a "12 Best books about Birds and Birding in 2016" selection

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