– by Joanna Reuter
The Genius of Birds, subject of the upcoming book discussion, covers a lot of fascinating territory but has little in the way of illustrations. Fortunately, the internet can fill that gap, with images, maps, videos, audio, and articles about the research and birds that Jennifer Ackerman describes. Here are a few links that illustrate aspects of the book. Perhaps these can serve as a reminder of what you read if you finished the book a while back or an inspiration to pick up a copy of the book if you haven’t yet. We’ll have a computer and projector available during the discussion to play clips or show images if necessary to help stimulate or inform discussion, so if you run across additional interesting sites or other online information, please send us a link so we can include it in our resources.
Alex the smart parrot:
New Caledonian Crows as problem solvers:
How birds vocalize:
Courtship displays of the Satin Bowerbird:
Ackerman refers to a number of species that were unfamiliar to me, but eBird is a great resource for finding out both where they live and what they look like. From the species map page of eBird, just type in bird you’re looking for, and you’ll see range information based on sightings. The common name of the species will need to be just right for eBird to recognize it; for example, eBird doesn’t like “African Gray Parrot” but rather just “Gray Parrot”. It can be easier to use the genus name if you know it. To see photos, click on “Explore Rich Media” in the right panel, and the map will show locations with checklists that include photos, video, or audio of the bird species in question, often as part of a checklist that may well have a number of other species photos, allowing for some nice armchair birding experiences.
Here are direct links to a few of the birds I looked up: