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The Life of Birds

A book by David Attenborough

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Absolutely fascinating

  • Mar 3, 1999
The BBC series had me completelely riveted, and the book seemed a logical extension of my fascination. But it is more than that - it is very readable, and entertaining. It has magnificent glossy pictures, endearing anecdotes and explanations, and should have a place in everyone's library.

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Lesley West ()
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About this book


Tireless explorer of the natural world and wide-ranging traveler, documentary filmmaker and writer David Attenborough has delighted readers and viewers with such productions asLife on EarthandThe Living Planet. In this companion to a 10-part PBS series of the same name, Attenborough examines the ways of bird species from prehistoric times to the present, writing, as he admits, from the viewpoint of an amateur with a particular interest in animal behavior. (Those who can distinguish a bird at sight or by song possess a skill, he writes, "which I greatly admire, but one, alas, that I do not possess.") That amateur passion yields a fine overview of avian biology, as Attenborough turns to such matters as the antiquity of birds, which have dominated the air for some 150 million years, and the adaptation of birds to every ecosystem on the planet--for no obstacle, from huge mountains to wide oceans, has been able to stop their colonizing the whole of the globe, including the artificial deserts of major cities, where pigeons and peregrines rule. Graced with 180 color photographs, Attenborough's book will delight birdwatchers, students of animal behavior, and admirers of good writing alike.--Gregory McNamee


To fly or not to fly --
Mastery of flight --
Insatiable appetite --
Meat-eaters --
Fishing for a living --
Signals and songs --
Finding partners --
Demands of the egg --
Problems of parenthood --
Limits of ...
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ISBN-10: 069101633X
ISBN-13: 978-0691016337
Author: David Attenborough
Genre: Science & Nature
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Date Published: September 28, 1998
First to Review

"Absolutely fascinating"
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