Discover ‚Üí Nature

Birds and humans, who are we?


Loved it! ūüėć

"God loved the birds and invented trees. Humans loved the birds and invented cages." Bird lovers paradise. Bird curious? Peck this up!

She had me at hello. "God loved the birds and invented trees. Humans loved the birds and invented cages." Ruth Finnegan has written a thought-provoking, exciting book on the unique behavior, history, anatomy, and personalities of birds who live in unique and complex social groups, dramatically different from one another but surprisingly not so different from humans. Finnegan compares bird and man by sharing real-life observations as well as impressive research on our winged friends through their fossil history to song, dance, clever antics, play, infighting and unfortunately as food -but hopefully this book will change that for you.  

"Uncovering the tale of bird evolution reads rather like a detective novel.‚ÄĚ

I spend time in Florida as an amateur bird watcher. This past year I noticed that my mockingbirds would leave worms on the scorching pavement for an hour or two so they would dry out and get crunchy, essentially cooking them and return only to feast on their perfectly grilled dinner. A bird in captivity would never be observed participating in that unique behavior. As Finnegan reminds us, the best way to learn about birds is to leave them in their natural habitat. What wondrous creatures they are!

I loved that Finnegan included links to a variety of ‚Äúbird songs‚ÄĚ and then compared them to the music that inspired great composers and singers to mimic their symphony. Did you know that in 1924 cellist Beatrice Harrison played alongside the birds singing in her garden? What a wonderful idea. Where‚Äôs my keyboard?

Crows have long memories and hold grudges, and pigeons have been carrying crucial messages during wartime and most recently have dropped off a SIM card or two into local jails. When there were no telephones, this bird-approved delivery system helped mankind make the intellectual and conceptual leap to Morse Code, telegraph, telephone, and maybe in the future telekinesis. If you can communicate miles away on the wings of a bird, why not a wire! And yes, the airplane. Man would probably not have thought to leap into the sky and fly above the clouds if it wasn't for our bird friends. The evolution of mankind has been defined in large part due to the bird.   And don't forget that dinosaurs were birds. Yes true. Finnegan takes time to visually share ancient bird fossils that looked like angels to me. The book was structured so that a reader could dip into their own imagination like I did and think about all the bird's behavior witnessed in our lives, and at the same time, should you want to dig deeper, you can do so with the thorough bibliography.  We are privy to the work of scientists like Christine Stracey, who observed her flying friends outside in their own environments to really understand them, unlike the research of Professor Murray Shanahan, who embeds computer chips into the tortured brains of pigeons all in the name of robotics.

Birds imprisoned in labs, in someone’s kitchen in a cramped cage, or on factory farms never able to fly or spread their wings is not acceptable under the watch of this wise, intuitive, kind, and academically powerful author. Finnegan honors nature and humbly shares how to do that with the reader.   This book guides us all to alter how we see birds in our society. The message?  We have an obligation to mankind to cultivate this in ourselves and our children if we want to live among the angels of the air and hear their wisdom.

Ruth Finnegan reminds us that we are caretakers of this planet. 

Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Chief Seattle (1786- June 7, 1866).  

Reviewed by

I have an M.A in Eng Lit, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Writers Union. I like defined character archs and plot structures. You will receive a honest review. "We are not here to race one another to the top but to keep others from falling down." Kayhallny@gmail

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About the author

I was born and brought up in Ireland, love music, nature and story-telling, have three daughters and five grandchildren. and live with my long-time husband David in Old Bletchley, southern England. I love writing, inspired by my family and the amazing natural world around me , view profile

Published on December 15, 2021

Published by Callender Press

50000 words

Genre: Nature

Reviewed by