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In the Company of Crows and Ravens
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About the Author

John M. Marzluff is Denman Professor of Sustainable Resource Sciences and professor of wildlife science, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington. Tony Angell is a freelance artist and writer in Lopez Island, Washington. Together the authors combine more than 60 years of scientific and artistic fascination with crows and their bird relatives.

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Savage, Candace. Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World. Greystone, dist. by Publishers Group West. Oct. 2005. illus. index. ISBN 1-55365-106-5. $20. NAT HIST Even the most ornithologically challenged recognize and notice crows-they're big and black, loud, social, and smart. Now come two superb studies that should deepen our understanding, and perhaps appreciation, of these fascinating birds and their corvid cousins, ravens. Marzluff (wildlife science, Coll. of Forest Resources, Univ. of Washington) and artist Angell aim for readers to get to know the "whole animal." To that end, these intrepid researchers go to extraordinary lengths, even eating crow (literally: they claim it is scrumptious). Their book offers a satellite view of the corvid bird family, but pays particular attention to the American Crow-its evolution, biology, complex social rituals, tool-handling capabilities, and communication skills. The authors are especially interested in the changing relationships between humans and corvids across time and place, how our culture has affected crows, and how crow "culture" has affected us. In particular, they advance the idea of "cultural coevolution," wherein interaction between corvids and humans leads to social learning and the evolution of each group's culture. Savage (Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies and Jays) offers a witty life history of the crow interlaced with stories, poems, songs, and pictures that support the bird's strong mythic hold on the human imagination over the course of our shared history. (She also helps us appreciate researchers' struggle to turn trickster crows into cooperative study subjects.) Though Angell's more than 100 charming drawings and the authors' clear zest for their subjects may lend In the Company of Crows and Ravens popular appeal, this is a serious book well suited for academic or large public collections. Brief and beautifully illustrated, Crows, on the other hand, is a more accessible book and a perfect choice for general collections. But readers of either book are very likely to agree with Savage that "any day with a crow in it is full of promise."-Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A fascinating look at the corvid family, illustrated with Mr. Angell's delightful black-and-white drawings."-Stuart Ferguson, Wall Street Journal
"There is a wealth of folklore, biology and anecdote here about all species of crows - a cornucopia of corvid memorabilia. This is a well-researched, fascinating book to read, evocatively illustrated by Angell's charming idiosyncratic scraperboards."-Tim Birkhead, Times Literary Supplement

"[A] superb study that should deepen our understanding, and perhaps appreciation, of these fascinating birds."-Library Journal

"[A] superb study that should deepen our understanding, and perhaps appreciation, of these fascinating birds. . . . These intrepid researchers go to extraordinary lengths. . . . Though Angell's more than 100 charming drawings and the authors' zest for their subjects may lend In the Company of Crows and Ravens popular appeal, this is a serious book well suited for academic or large public collections."-Library Journal

". . . intriguing and inspiring insights . . . rich tapestry of folklore and science . . . comprehensive account of the impact of crows on human culture."-Joanna Dally, Science

"This is a work bursting with fresh ideas, rich in speculation, while also managing to survey, in highly accessible terms, the full spectrum of research into this fascinating bird group."-BBC Wildlife Magazine

"A solid volume . . . [with] a vast amount of fascinating and provocative material . . ."-Birds

"Engrossing."-Rebecca Solnit, London Review of Books

". . . a book rich in descriptive language and juicy with insight and biological detail."-New Scientist
Semi-finalist and recipient of Honorable Mention for the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category
Winner of the 2006 Washington State Book Award
Winner of First Prize for the Victoria and Albert Museum Illustration Award

"Crows and ravens stir up much interest, precisely for the reasons John Marzluff and Tony Angell give in this handsomely illustrated work."-Bernd Heinrich, author of Mind of the Raven

"With engaging prose and compelling art, the authors tell us how our interactions with other species, especially crows and ravens, have influenced both us and them over the ages. . . . If you believe that we have great impacts on other species but that they have influenced us relatively little, then you should read this delightfully written and illustrated book."-Gordon H. Orians, University of Washington


"Throughout human history, crows have been reviled and revered in equal measure. Now the corvids of folklore and fable are living up to their reputation for cleverness, trickery and ingenuity. Marzluff and Angell's wonderful book is a user's guide to the biology and culture of these fascinating animals and a testament to man's affinity with nature."-Nathan Emery, University of Cambridge

"Members of the crow family (corvids), which include ravens, jays and magpies, as well crows, have the reputation of being mischievous, machaevellian creatures, who steal other birds' eggs and raid agricultural crops. But these corvids are also renowned for their wisdom as well as their deceit. This fascinating book describes not only the role corvids have played in our folklore but more generally how corvids have influenced human culture and the impact of humans on corvids. I hope this book will afford corvids the respect they deserve."-Nicola Clayton, University of Cambridge


"This is the most detailed account I know of concerning crows and their interaction with man. A very readable and thought-provoking book!"-Noble S. Proctor, Ph.D., author of Manual of Ornithology and A Field Guide to North Atlantic Wildlife

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