Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bird Brain

Pairing experimental science with advances in animal neurobiology, we have dramatically increased our understanding of avian intelligence. Cognitive abilities like creativity, insight, math, planning, intentionality, degrees of sociality, deception, language, spatial memory, imitation, etc., are not exclusively natural human traits. The more we understand bird intelligence we begin to realize they are not mere instinct machines responding to external stimuli, but in many ways they’re a lot like us.

For a comprehensive and fun examination of the current science of bird intelligence, I wholeheartedly recommend Bird Brain – An Exploration of Avian Intelligence by Dr. Nathan Emery. Senior lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary University of London, Dr. Emery’s research focuses on what corvids, apes, and parrots understand about their social and physical worlds, from insight and imagination to psychology and evolution innovation and creativity.

The book is beautifully illustrated with color photographs and diagrams, written in short chapter style that will appeal to the lay reader as well as advanced avian aficionados. Dramatically enhancing my own appreciation for birds, I suspect this is a book I will routinely refer back to. Published by Princeton University Press, Bird Brain is available wherever books are sold!

Here’s a preview (.PDF)

Link: Bird Brain at Princeton University Press

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