Everyone has a story about a bird or birds and the fascinating antics they can achieve with their interaction with people, cities and their amazing adaptability. Dr Grainne Cleary, a wildlife ecologist firmly believes that how people react with the birds and other wildlife found in their backyards, can have massive influence on urban wildlife, as well as offering safe sanctuary in what is rapidly becoming a very hostile environment.
Backyard Birds looks at both the serious as well as laugh out loud moments and the antics of the birds that visit backyards on a regular basis, to the very real need to understand how best to work with wildlife to ensure a positive outcome for both people and wildlife.
Funny and most enjoyable are the many stories sent in and used lavishly throughout the book, as they help underscore the research that is and has taken place, in what is an endangered environment. One of many truly fascinating aspects of Grainne Cleary’s work is how very closely birds and their lifestyles relate to that of the human.
Birds are incredibly intelligent, have very clearly defined sets of rules, are able to work together with other species to achieve a positive outcome and in many cases, have a very well-developed sense of humour and fun. Just have a look at a pair of Cockatoos living in the moment and the wonderful melodies sung by the Magpies as they go about charming all around.
Australian birds are vastly different to their European brethren, as they have had to develop to the conditions they were given, that of a harsh climate, often sparse food supplies, serious water shortages as well as extremes of hot and cold, all of which have led to learning to be adaptable. Now, with the endless destruction of their habitats, it is becoming more important than ever before to understand and support our birds and their environment, a point reiterated over and over again.
Grainne Cleary has combined science, stories from ‘backyard scientists’ and a little folkloric to present an endlessly fascinating and entertaining look at birds, their relationship to humans as well as joy and happiness they bring into the life of the observer, whether it be from a scientific perspective, or that of the owner of a piece of land the birds have discovered is a safe, friendly environment to visit.
By the end of the book, there is considerable room to contemplate who got it right; the birds or the humans, as so much of their and our lifestyles are so very, very similar, if not the same. But one thing is very definite, never again will you look at the birds in your backyard without viewing their chatter, and enjoying their antics, then wondering just what it they are saying to each other!
|Author||Dr Gráinne Cleary|
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin Publishers|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|