The best books for understanding and appreciating birds

The Books I Picked & Why

The Human Nature of Birds: A Scientific Discovery with Startling Implications

By Theodore Xenophon Barber

The Human Nature of Birds: A Scientific Discovery with Startling Implications

Why this book?

Yes, it’s a bit dated, but it was a bold, pioneering book for its day. Barber doesn’t shrink from describing birds as they are: intelligent, flexible, emotional animals with lives and personalities.


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The Sibley Guide to Birds

By David Allen Sibley

The Sibley Guide to Birds

Why this book?

This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive book is a must-have for bird enthusiasts. It is not only a useful guide to identifying birds, but also an illuminating source on little-known aspects of bird behavior.


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Birds as Individuals

By Len Howard

Birds as Individuals

Why this book?

A British musicologist opens the windows to her country home and lets wild birds come in and nest there. This unique study allows her (and us) to observe these feathered sprites up close and personal. Many befriend their human hostess, with remarkable revelations.


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Birdology: Adventures with Hip Hop Parrots, Cantankerous Cassowaries, Crabby Crows, Peripatetic Pigeons, Hens, Hawks, and Hummingbirds

By Sy Montgomery

Birdology: Adventures with Hip Hop Parrots, Cantankerous Cassowaries, Crabby Crows, Peripatetic Pigeons, Hens, Hawks, and Hummingbirds

Why this book?

True to form, Montgomery advances our understanding of birds through stories and adventures from the field. An accessible book from a celebrated writer whose love of animals is infectious.


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Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds

By Chris Chester

Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds

Why this book?

An electrician and his wife rescue an orphaned baby house sparrow and raise him into adulthood and beyond. This beautifully and at times hilariously told story is full of precious revelations about the rich personality of a bird routinely overlooked by us.


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