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Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs: How the Struggle for Survival Has Shaped Birds and Their Behavior

By Roger Lederer

Reveals the strange and wondrous adaptations birds rely on to get by.

National Audubon Society

When we see a bird flying from branch to branch happily chirping, it is easy to imagine they lead a simple life of freedom, flight, and feathers. What we don’t see is the arduous, life-threatening challenges they face at every moment. Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs guides the reader through the myriad, and often almost miraculous, things that birds do every day to merely stay alive. Like the goldfinch, which manages extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter. Or urban birds, which navigate traffic through a keen understanding of posted speed limits. In engaging and accessible prose, Roger Lederer shares how and why birds use their sensory abilities to see ultraviolet, find food without seeing it, fly thousands of miles without stopping, change their songs in noisy cities, navigate by smell, and much more.

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Media reviews

"An exceptional overview of the life, adaptations, and impressive skill sets of wild birds ... Highly recommended for all interested in natural history and the impact of humans on the natural world."

Library Journal

"A trove of information for true bird nerds."

Bird Watcher’s Digest

"Reveals the strange and wondrous adaptations birds rely on to get by."

National Audubon Society

About the author

Roger Lederer

Dr. Roger J. Lederer is an emeritus professor of biological sciences who taught courses in ornithology and ecology for four decades. He has published more than twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications and written or coauthored six books on birds.

Read more about Roger Lederer

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