And liking it!
The hardcover version, that is.
I have the book on Kindle but there are a lot of links and I found myself getting lost. I recently picked up the hardcover book at my local, awesome bookseller, Bookshop Santa Cruz. (Support your local bookstores!)
The Introduction functions “as a sort of annotated index,” according to the author. It introduces tropics and include pages numbers to more information on the topic.
Following are some of the interesting things I learned that I had a photo of to illustrate with…
I read that “the crest of a jay or cardinal is simply feathers, and can be raised or lowered at will.” I remembered Great Blue Herons I’d seen with raised feathers on top of their head. I turned to page 147 to learn that raising the feathers can be a form of communicating excitation or aggression.
On the next page, I read, “On rare occasions, a bird will molt all of its head feathers at once, with no apparent negative effects.” (Except for the bald bird jokes it has to endure!)
Wow! I’d seen that on a Northern Cardinal in Provincetown! I turned to the entry for more information and the illustration was of a Northern Cardinal! I had been curious about the Cardinal I’d seen, but Sibley says “it’s still not clear why it [molting all head feathers] is triggered in some individuals.”
I read further.
“Many species have color patterns that suggest a face, presumably to deter predators…” I turned to the referenced page and found a drawing of an American Kestrel.
What do you think?
Bird feathers vary with age and season. In a previous post, we saw that the male Mallards and Wood Ducks completely change their appearance.
The eclipse plumage on a Mallard makes it hard to distinguish the male from the female. The color of the bill is the most reliable clue.
I am still in the introduction to the “What It’s Like to Be a Bird,” and I am thoroughly enjoying it–the hardcover version, that is. 😉