Cuckoo

Cheating by Nature

Author: Nick Davies

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1620409534

Category: Nature

Page: 320

View: 8492

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A gifted biologist's careful and beguiling study of why cuckoos have got away with tricking other birds into hatching and raising their young for thousands of years. The familiar call of the common cuckoo, "cuck-oo,†? has been a harbinger of spring ever since our ancestors walked out of Africa many thousands of years ago. However, for naturalist and scientist Nick Davies, the call is an invitation to solve an enduring puzzle: how does the cuckoo get away with laying its eggs in the nests of other birds and tricking them into raising young cuckoos rather than their own offspring? Early observers who noticed a little warbler feeding a monstrously large cuckoo chick concluded the cuckoo's lack of parental care was the result of faulty design by the Creator, and that the hosts chose to help the poor cuckoo. These quaint views of bad design and benevolence were banished after Charles Darwin proposed that the cuckoo tricks the hosts in an evolutionary battle, where hosts evolve better defenses against cuckoos and cuckoos, in turn, evolve better trickery to outwit the hosts. For the last three decades, Davies has employed observation and field experiments to unravel the details of this evolutionary "arms race†? between cuckoos and their hosts. Like a detective, Davies and his colleagues studied adult cuckoo behavior, cuckoo egg markings, and cuckoo chick begging calls to discover exactly how cuckoos trick their hosts. For birding and evolution aficionados, The Cuckoo is a lyrical and scientifically satisfying exploration of one of nature's most astonishing and beautiful adaptations.

Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats

Author: N. B. Davies

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 1408135868

Category: Science

Page: 328

View: 1156

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In this fascinating new book, Nick Davies describes the natural histories of these brood parasites and examines many of the exciting questions they raise about the evolution of cheating and the arms race between parasites and their prey. Brood parasites fill their armory with adaptations including exquisite egg mimicry, rapid laying, ejection of host eggs, murder of host young, chick mimicry and manipulative begging behavior: ploys shown by recent research to have evolved in response to host defense behavior or through competition among the parasites themselves. While many host species appear defenseless, accepting parasite eggs quite unlike their own, many are more discriminating against odd-looking eggs and some have evolved the ability to discriminate against odd-looking chicks as well. How is this arms race conducted? Will defenseless hosts develop defenses in time, or are there constraints which limit the evolution and perfection of host defenses? And why are so few species obliged only to lay eggs in host nests? Have host defenses limited the success of brood parasitism, or is it in fact much more common than we suspect, but occurring mainly when birds parasitize the nest of their own kind? All of these puzzles are examined in descriptions of the natural history of each of the groups of parasites in turn. Here is a book with wide appeal, both to amateur naturalists fascinated by this most singular and macabre of behaviors and by ornithologists and ecologists interested in the evolution of ecology and behavior. The story takes us from the classic field work earlier this century by pioneer ornithologists such as Edgar Chance, Stuart Baker, Herbert Friedmann and others, through to the recent experimental field work and molecular techniques of today's leading scientists. We visit brood parasites in Europe, Asia, Japan, Africa, Australasia, and North and South America, to look at some of the worlds most interesting birds and some of biology's most interesting questions, many of which still beg answers from ornithologists in the future. Brilliant illustrations by David Quinn illuminate the species discussed, showing many behaviors never before illustrated and conveying the thrill of watching these astonishing birds in the wild.

The Most Perfect Thing

Inside (and Outside) a BirdÂ?s Egg

Author: Tim Birkhead

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1632863715

Category: Nature

Page: 304

View: 9979

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A bird's egg is a nearly perfect survival capsule--an external womb--and one of natural selection's most wonderful creations. Shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2016.One of Forbes' Best Books About Birds and Birding in 2016. Renowned ornithologist Tim Birkhead opens this gripping story as a female guillemot chick hatches, already carrying her full quota of tiny eggs within her undeveloped ovary. As she grows into adulthood, only a few of her eggs mature, are released into the oviduct, and are fertilized by sperm stored from copulation that took place days or weeks earlier. Within a matter of hours, the fragile yolk is surrounded by albumen and the whole is gradually encased within a turquoise jewel of a shell. Soon the fully formed egg is expelled onto a rocky ledge, where it will be incubated for four weeks before a chick emerges and the life cycle begins again. THE MOST PERFECT THING is about how eggs in general are made, fertilized, developed, and hatched. Birkhead uses birds' eggs as wondrous portals into natural history, enlivened by the stories of naturalists and scientists, including Birkhead and his students, whose discoveries have advanced current scientific knowledge of reproduction.

Restless Creatures

The Story of Life in Ten Movements

Author: Matt Wilkinson

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 046509869X

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 5795

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Most of us never think about how we get from one place to another. For most people, putting one foot in front of the other requires no thought at all. Yet the fact that we and other species are able to do so is one of the great triumphs of evolution. To truly understand how life evolved on Earth, it is crucial to understand movement.ÊRestless CreaturesÊmakes the bold new argument that the true story of evolution is the story of locomotion, from the first stirrings of bacteria to the amazing feats of Olympic athletes. By retracing the four-billion-year history of locomotion, evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson shows how the physical challenges of moving from place to placeÑwhen coupled with the implacable logic of natural selectionÑoffer a uniquely powerful means of illuminating the living world. Whales and dolphins look like fish because they have been molded by the constraints of underwater locomotion. The unbending physical needs of flight have brought bats, birds, and pterodactyls to strikingly similar anatomies. Movement explains why we have opposable thumbs, why moving can make us feel good, how fish fins became limbs, and even whyÑclassic fiction notwithstandingÑthere are no flying monkeys nor animals with wheels. Even plants arenÕt immune from locomotionÕs long reach: their seeds, pollen, and very form are all determined by their aptitude to disperse. From sprinting cheetah to spinning maple fruit, soaring albatross to burrowing worm, crawling amoeba to running humanÑall are the way they are because of how they move. There is a famous saying: Ònothing in biology makes sense unless in the light of evolution.Ó As Wilkinson makes clear: little makes sense unless in the light of locomotion. A powerful yet accessible work of evolutionary biology,ÊRestless CreaturesÊis the essential guide for understanding how life on Earth was shaped by the simple need to move from point A to point B.

Cheats and Deceits

How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead

Author: Martin Stevens

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191017604

Category: Science

Page: 296

View: 9738

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In nature, trickery and deception are widespread. Animals and plants mimic other objects or species in the environment for protection, trick other species into rearing their young, lure prey to their death, and deceive potential mates for reproduction. Cuckoos lay eggs carefully matched to their host's own clutch. Harmless butterflies mimic the wing patterning of a poisonous butterfly to avoid being eaten. The deep-sea angler fish hangs a glowing, fleshy lure in front of its mouth to draw the attention of potential prey, while some male fish alter their appearance to look like females in order to sneak past rivals in mating. Some orchids develop the smell of female insects in order to attract pollinators, while carnivorous plants lure insects to their death with colourful displays. In this book, Martin Stevens describes the remarkable range of such adaptations in nature, and considers how they have evolved, and become increasingly perfected as part of an arms race between predator and prey or host and parasite. He explores the work of naturalists and biologists from Alfred Russel Wallace to current research, showing how scientists find ways of testing the impact of particular behaviours and colourings on the animals it is meant to fool, as opposed to our human perceptions. Drawing on a wide range of examples, Stevens considers what deception tells us about the process of evolution and adaptation.

The Lone Wolverine

Tracking Michigan's Most Elusive Animal

Author: Elizabeth P Shaw,Jeffrey J Ford

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 0472034871

Category: Nature

Page: 207

View: 983

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One man's quest to track and document a single wolverine, discovered in Michigan 100 years after the species was supposed to be locally extinct

Gods of the Morning: A Bird's-Eye View of a Changing World

Author: John Lister-Kaye

Publisher: Pegasus Books

ISBN: 1605987972

Category: Nature

Page: 336

View: 6774

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A celebration of birds that reflects a year in the wild, revealing how these amazing creatures embody our changing world, by one of Britain's foremost naturalists. Gods of the Morning follows the year through the turning of the seasons at Aigas, the Highlands estate John Lister-Kaye has transformed into a world-renowned wildlife center. John's affection, wisdom and lyricism sings off every page, bringing the natural world around him to life: from the rookery filled with twenty-nine nests and distinct bird calls to descriptions of the winter morning light, from the wood mice and the squirrels preparing for winter to tracking a fox's path through the snow. In particular it brings John's lifelong love of birds—his gods of the morning—to the fore. In the Highland glens, bird numbers plummet as their food supplies—natural fruits and every kind of creeping, crawling, slithering or flying bug—begin to disappear. Not just the swallows and house martins have vanished from round the houses. Gone are the insect snatching wheatears, whinchats and stonechats from the hills, and redstarts and flycatchers have fled the woods. Pied wagtails no longer flicker across the lawns and sandpipers and grey wagtails have deserted the river banks. Farmland and hedgerow species have vanished in the night: the linnets, yellowhammers, and all the warblers have decamped from the thickets. By the first frosts the hills will have emptied down to a few hardy stalwarts such as the golden eagles, the raven and the irrepressible hooded crows. Silence settles across the land. The few species that are left frequent a changed world. Soon only the buzzards and wood pigeons will hang on in the woods and the coniferous forests will be host to flocks of chaffinches, tits, siskins, and crossbills passing through.

The Birds of Pandemonium

Author: Michele Raffin

Publisher: Algonquin Books

ISBN: 1616204273

Category: Nature

Page: 240

View: 3225

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“Michele Raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds, and her book is a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.” —Dominick Dorsa, Curator of Birds, San Francisco Zoo Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin awakens to the bewitching music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries—a symphony that swells from the most vocal of over 350 avian throats representing over 40 species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she admits. Pandemonium Aviaries is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, including some of the largest populations of rare species in the world. And their behavior is even more fascinating than their glorious plumage or their songs. They fall in love, they mourn, they rejoice, they sacrifice, they have a sense of humor, they feel jealous, they invent, plot, cope, and sometimes they murder each other. As Raffin says, “They teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.” Their stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a way to reach the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of a disabled Victoria crowned pigeon, Wing, and her brother, Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged turaco, and an autistic young visitor. Ultimately, The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, bird by bird, and offers insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world. “Delightful . . . full of wonderful accounts of bird behavior, demonstrating caring, learning, sociability, adaptability, and a will to live. Its appeal is ageless, her descriptions riveting, and her devotion to the birds remarkable.” —Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship “A remarkable book. Reading about the birds of Pandemonium will make you laugh and cry; it will make you see more clearly the need to take care of our planet; and it will confirm that one person with a passion can make a difference.” —Jeff Corwin, nature conservationist and host, Animal Planet “The Birds of Pandemonium touched me deeply . . . This book is about reconnecting with the nature of birds, and the nature of ourselves.” —Jon Young, author of What the Robin Knows

Practical Quail-keeping

Author: Sarah Barratt,Martin Barratt

Publisher: Crowood

ISBN: 1847975240

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 112

View: 3305

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Practical Quail-keeping is a comprehensive guide for anyone who keeps quail or who is thinking about starting out. It covers all key aspects of responsible quail husbandry, and explains how to set up and equip your quail house and pens, how to care for your birds, and how to breed and raise young hatchlings through to healthy adulthood. The authors draw on their extensive experience as quail breeders to provide a unique insight into keeping these fascinating little birds. Topics covered include:Legal aspects of poultry-keeping; Feeding and watering; Protecting quail from vermin and disease; Breeding and hatching; Quail recipes. A comprehensive guide to quail-keeping that gives a unique insight into keeping these fascinating little birds, aimed at smallholders and poultry-keepers. Superbly illustrated with 140 colour photographs. Sarah and Martin Barratt are quail breeders with extensive experience.

How to Be Great at The Stuff You Hate

The Straight-Talking Guide to Networking, Persuading and Selling

Author: Nick Davies

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0857082574

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 208

View: 2726

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You have to do it… you might as well enjoy it No one likes a pushy, smarmy salesman – no one wants to be that guy ... but most of us need to sell to some extent. How else can we get any business? We all have to do it now, whether we're lawyers, accountants or start-ups. But don't despair – there's no need to go on some cringey sales training day. How to be Great at the Stuff You Hate shows you how to develop all the skills you need to sell yourself, your business and your ideas. So ditch the dread, forget the fear and start enjoying yourself! Selling isn't something you 'do' to people, it's not some dark art practised by pushy and manipulative people – it's a process, it's a relationship ... it's fun! All you need to do is cut the crap, be yourself and win some business. How to be Great at the Stuff You Hate shows you how to: Pull together a target list – who do you want to approach and do business with? Connect with those people – writing letters/emails Master meeting and networking – conquering small talk! Follow up once you’ve chatted to someoneAsk for what you want

Mind of the Raven

Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds

Author: Bernd Heinrich

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0061863939

Category: Nature

Page: 432

View: 7082

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Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father," as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines, and in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world. At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too. Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven follows an exotic journey—from New England to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic—offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature. Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling to read, at once lyrical and scientific.

Exploding the Phone

The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell

Author: Phil Lapsley

Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic

ISBN: 0802193757

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 3755

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“A rollicking history of the telephone system and the hackers who exploited its flaws” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Before smartphones, back even before the Internet and personal computers, a misfit group of technophiles, blind teenagers, hippies, and outlaws figured out how to hack the world’s largest machine: the telephone system. Starting with Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary “harmonic telegraph,” by the middle of the twentieth century the phone system had grown into something extraordinary, a web of cutting-edge switching machines and human operators that linked together millions of people like never before. But the network had a billion-dollar flaw, and once people discovered it, things would never be the same. Exploding the Phone tells this story in full for the first time. It traces the birth of long-distance communication and the telephone, the rise of AT&T’s monopoly, the creation of the sophisticated machines that made it all work, and the discovery of Ma Bell’s Achilles heel. Phil Lapsley expertly weaves together the clandestine underground of “phone phreaks” who turned the network into their electronic playground, the mobsters who exploited its flaws to avoid the feds, the explosion of telephone hacking in the counterculture, and the war between the phreaks, the phone company, and the FBI. The product of extensive original research, Exploding the Phone is a ground-breaking, captivating book that “does for the phone phreaks what Steven Levy’s Hackers did for computer pioneers” (Boing Boing). “An authoritative, jaunty and enjoyable account of their sometimes comical, sometimes impressive and sometimes disquieting misdeeds.” —The Wall Street Journal “Brilliantly researched.” —The Atlantic “A fantastically fun romp through the world of early phone hackers, who sought free long distance, and in the end helped launch the computer era.” —The Seattle Times

Spirals in Time

The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells

Author: Helen Scales

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1472911377

Category: Nature

Page: 288

View: 568

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Seashells are the sculpted homes of a remarkable group of animals: the molluscs. These are some of the most ancient and successful animals on the planet. But watch out. Some molluscs can kill you if you eat them. Some will kill you if you stand too close. That hasn't stopped people using shells in many ways over thousands of years. They became the first jewelry and oldest currencies; they've been used as potent symbols of sex and death, prestige and war, not to mention a nutritious (and tasty) source of food. Spirals in Time is an exuberant aquatic romp, revealing amazing tales of these undersea marvels. Helen Scales leads us on a journey into their realm, as she goes in search of everything from snails that 'fly' underwater on tiny wings to octopuses accused of stealing shells and giant mussels with golden beards that were supposedly the source of Jason's golden fleece, and learns how shells have been exchanged for human lives, tapped for mind-bending drugs and inspired advances in medical technology. Weaving through these stories are the remarkable animals that build them, creatures with fascinating tales to tell, a myriad of spiralling shells following just a few simple rules of mathematics and evolution. Shells are also bellwethers of our impact on the natural world. Some species have been overfished, others poisoned by polluted seas; perhaps most worryingly of all, molluscs are expected to fall victim to ocean acidification, a side-effect of climate change that may soon cause shells to simply melt away. But rather than dwelling on what we risk losing, Spirals in Time urges you to ponder how seashells can reconnect us with nature, and heal the rift between ourselves and the living world.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

Author: Hal Whitehead,Luke Rendell

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226895319

Category: Science

Page: 417

View: 7616

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Drawing on their own research as well as scientific literature including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology and neuroscience, two cetacean biologists submerge themselves in the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live.

The House of God

Author: Samuel Shem

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101460887

Category: Fiction

Page: 400

View: 5998

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By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative novel about Roy Basch and five of his fellow interns at the most renowned teaching hospital in the country. Struggling with grueling hours and sudden life-and-death responsibilities, Basch and his colleagues, under the leadership of their rule-breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, must learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings. A phenomenon ever since it was published, The House of God was the first unvarnished, unglorified, and uncensored portrait of what training to become a doctor is truly like, in all its terror, exhaustion and black comedy. With more than two million copies sold worldwide, it has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels ever written. With an introduction by John Updike From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Panopticon

A Novel

Author: Jenni Fagan

Publisher: Hogarth

ISBN: 0385347871

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 9163

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Named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor. Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon—they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad-hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. But when she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais realizes her fate: She is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in. Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

The Cuckoos

Author: Robert B. Payne

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191513558

Category: Science

Page: 644

View: 6323

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The cuckoos are the most variable birds in social behavior and parental care: a few cuckoos are among the most social of all birds and rear their young in a common nest; most cuckoos are caring parents that rear their own young with some females laying a few eggs in the nests of others; while many cuckoo species are brood parasites who leave their eggs in the nests of other birds to rear, with their young maturing to kill their foster nestmates. In The Cuckoos, Robert B. Payne presents a new evolutionary history of the family based on molecular genetics, and uses the family tree to explore the origins and diversity of their behaviour. He traces details of the cuckoos' biology to their original sources, includes descriptions of previously unpublished field observations, and reveals new comparisons of songs showing previously overlooked cuckoo species. Lavishly illustrated with specially commissioned colour plates and numerous maps, halftones, and line drawings, The Cuckoos provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of this family yet available.