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Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur (t)
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Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur (t)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  566 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Meet the ladies: a flock of smart, affectionate, highly individualistic chickens who visit their favorite neighbors, devise different ways to hide from foxes, and mob the author like she’s a rock star. In these pages you’ll also meet Maya and Zuni, two orphaned baby hummingbirds who hatched from eggs the size of navy beans, and who are little more than ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Atria Books (first published 2010)
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Dec 06, 2014 Carol. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who don't know much about any of the birds mentioned
Cross-posted from my blog, where it is much, much easier to link fun stuff like videos of cockatoos dancing, birdcam links and scientist profiles:

Two and a half stars.

I’m a bird lover, so Birdology seemed an easy sell.


The subtitle elaborates: “Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur.” Again, ought to be a delight. I spent one winter o
I'm not a bird or a birdologist. I sorta like them, I guess. I think sparrows are amazing. When I eat outside, I always share my food with them. I like loons. I think any raptor is awesome. I can remember with clarity every time I saw a bald eagle in the wild. And here's a true story, once when I was leaving the subway, there was a falcon eating a pigeon on the sidewalk. There were three of us who stood enchanted and then some woman came up and said, "Oh my god, what if a child see this?". Um, t ...more

Sy Montgomery has a real knack for writing the kind of non-fiction books I love to read. They are always packed with interesting, little-known facts, lovely people, and the adventures Sy always seems to have whenever she is researching a book. Birdology does not disappoint! Each chapter is about a different species of bird that illustrates and essential characteristic of the species. Along the way I meet pigeon racers, falconers, and wildlife rehabilitators. I fell in love with the birds - the L
I had a terrible experience living with a particularly foul canary growing up. This bird did nothing to endear itself to anyone. (Projectile pooping, anyone?) We mostly wanted it to be night so we could cover it up and forget it was there. Sad, but true. Anyway, this did nothing to foster any love I could possibly have had of birds. So, when I read a review of this book, why would I even bother to care? I'm not sure, but I did and I HAD to read this book....and then I devoured every single word. ...more
I’ve been taking my time reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery, savoring the stories, peck by peck or is that page by page.

Everyone that I know that has read this before me, bird lovers all, seem to pick their favorite chapter and bird to exclaim about. Some enjoyed reading about feeding baby hummingbirds (very interesting and hard work), some liked learning more about the birds of prey, what it means to study falconry and others couldn’t believe the lineage and sheer size of The Cassowary. The Ad
Feb 24, 2013 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bird lovers
Recommended to Lisa by: Brian and Ro
Shelves: nonfiction, 4-star
Sy Montgomery has written a fascinating book about her experiences with hens, cassowaries, hummingbirds, hawks, pigeons, parrots, and crows.

Sy does a great job describing the antics of her chickens and the neighbor's flock! This chapter alone made the book worthwhile!
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I have been wanting to get some chickens for several years now, but afraid to put the money into it only to have the cops force me to get rid of them. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to get anyone started, I liked these:
Marina Bear
Although I love books that give you information on things about which you know very little, I have to say that we're reading Bill Bryson's At Home while I read Birdology and it's helped me figure out why I find Sy Montgomery's book slightly annoying. There's too much Sy; too much "I did this and then I felt that" and I found I didn't really care. Loved learning about hummingbirds; find crows and the city fascinating, but Bryson doesn't intrude on his subject. I'm sure it's noble to include the n ...more
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. I can't believe it has been sitting on my end table for over a year now and I have never gotten around to reading it.

About a year ago I was given some 5 hen and a rooster. I never, ever thought I would like having chickens. I have become enthralled with them. They are so entertaining and comical. Who would have thought. I have had so many animals in my life from the normal ones to llamas but I have to say this is the only animal I've owned who has actually given
A reference to this book made it into my wedding vows. I'm not really sure you can give a book a much higher compliment than that. And it wasn't even me who put it there! Let me explain.

I like Sy Montgomery. I enjoyed Walking With the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas and The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans. I adored The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood. But this is my very favorite Sy Montgomery book so far.

In each chapter she profiles a differe
I loved reading this book, which is a well balanced blend of science and up close personal adventures with birds. Years of experience with birds went into the writing. Besides raising her own brood of personality filled chickens, Sy pursued the giant, dinosaur-like cassowary in an Australian jungle, helped rescue a baby hummingbird the size and weight of an air bubble, partnered with a hawk trained to hunt with humans, kept vigil as homing pigeons raced back to their loft, danced with Snowball t ...more
I wanted to read this book after my family aquired a flock of chickens. I loved the book. It was highly interesting and well-written. I have to say, though, the author is bird crazy. No, no, I mean *cuh-ray-zee*. It's not a bad thing, not by any stretch. The craziness contributed to the wonderfulness of the book. (And I want to read her book about her pet pig.) But there were times when the craziness reached epic proportions and I just had to laugh at the outrageousness of it all.
I think this book gave me cavities, as it was far too sentimental for my tastes. Many of the descriptive words had religious connotations, implying that nature's wonder and beauty is tied to a divine design - can't scientific complexity provoke a sense of awe all by itself? Of course, the book is a personal account, so I have no room to judge its subjectivity. I just think I'd have enjoyed it more if the author had stayed away from using such saccharine language.
I loved this book which I read in Seattle where I was fortunate to see humming birds for the first time. The chapter on humming birds was especially meaningful. An excellent range of stories reveals the intricacies of bird behaviour as witnessed by the carers. A good reason to watch and admire birds wherever you are!
Jun 03, 2010 Ehrrin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Read about this in a Powell's Daily Dose & heard about it on NPR. Also, I'm a little bird crazy right now after living in a place since December with a bird feeder outside my favorite window. Even though I was purple-pooped on (freakin' mulberries!) by a bird this morning.
This is an excellent book which combines entertaining reading with interesting scientific facts about birds, our closest living relatives to dinosaurs. The author uses several very different types of birds to illustrate just how diverse this creature can be, from the very tiny hovering hummingbird to the six-foot flightless Australian cassowary.

Ms. Montgomery also devotes chapters to chickens, hawks, homing pigeons, crows and parrots. She takes us into remote parts of the world, and introduces
This is probably more like a 2.5 or 3 star book for me. It was very interesting, but uneven. Divided into seven sections -- each illustrating a characteristic of birds in general by focusing on one species -- some were charming (chickens), fascinating (cassowary), and astounding (hummingbirds). But about halfway through, the book started to slow down. The final four sections (hawks, pigeons, parrots, and crows) each had interesting insights, but were much weaker than the first three. The author' ...more
David R.
Montgomery engages less in "birdology"(?) than in rapturous scene painting as she reports encounters with birds in unusual circumstances. And there's a bit too much anthropomorphism and earthiness for my taste. Along the way we meet the elusive cassawary, students of parrots, hummingbird rehabilitators, crow repellers, falconers, pigeon racers, and for good measure, Montgomery herself as something of Queen of the barnyard chickens. Each chapter is a very different bird encounter, remarkably vivi ...more
This book is AMAZING! Each chapter is about a different type of bird,and each is filled with amazing,and fascinating info about them,plus some wonderful personal stories.

I always wanted a flock of chickens,and the chicken chapter was a delight to read,especially getting to know "the ladies",but each chapter was very informative and entertaining.

Highly recommended for everyone who has an interest in birds.
Naturalist Sy Montgomery has had a lifelong fascination with birds, from common species to the elusive and dangerous cassowary, the "living dinosaur" of the title. Birdology is a beautifully written account of her investigations into the evolution, individual personalities, and interaction with humans of these feathered marvels. Each chapter stands alone and takes a different tone: readers may laugh out loud at the essays devoted to parrots/cockatoos and "The Ladies," Montgomery's pet hens, but ...more
A fascinating and fun non fiction book about birds. You will learn about the lives of chickens, parrots, cassowary, raptors, hummingbirds and crows. Their evolution, biology, personalities and unique abilities. I enjoyed how the author jumped in with various experts to learn about the lives of all these birds. This is a good book for educational pleasure reading.
Ruth Segal
Finished this one a few months back and never had a chance to review it.
The writing is great and she does a good job addressing the emotional paradox of nature,
the food chain, life and death. The chapter about chickens has caused me to stop eating chicken.
The book has caused me to stop eating farm animals of any kind.
The writer is very in touch with the irony that in one chapter she is having major relationships with chickens and in the next chapter connecting with hawks, and is feeding them ch
A really fun read! Informative and entertaining. Sy Montgomery writes about birds as the modern-day descendants of dinosaurs, relying on recent research and meeting quite a cast of characters in the process. Each section was a revelation - I especially enjoyed learning about hummingbird rehabilitation, falconry, and racing pigeons; and I've always thought cassowaries were cool. Shortly after I read the chapter on chickens, my family and I went on an "urban coop tour" here in Atlanta, and we are ...more
Sy Montgomery has done it again, she made me fall in love with more animals. Not that that's hard to do, of course. This book is chock full of amazing stories of various creatures from the avian world, in my opinion, most fascinating was the story of the hummingbirds. And the pigeons. I look forward to reading her other works, and am grateful that this one did not make me cry, as so many other books about animals in our lives tend to do. Not to spoil it for you, but not a single animal dies at t ...more
Margo Burnison
I loved this book. Of course, I am now a huge bird nerd, but I loved her story style and the added humor that was added to each chapter. It was really more like reading a series of short stories, or sections about different birds but they were all entertaining and informative in their own way. There was not an overwhelming amount of science mumbo-jumbo and it was easy to understand what points she was trying to make. Definitely enjoyed this book and have already recommended it to some of my bird ...more
Even though I've read many books about birds, I thought this one offered a different perspective. The author is a naturalist, so she's knowledgeable about scientific language and processes, but she is not afraid to see "her" birds from a more human angle - specifically her hens. She nicely blends facts and personal observations, telling a few fun tales about birds and humans. If anthropomorphism bothers you a little, then skim read the first section. If it bothers you a lot, don't pick up the bo ...more
A very interesting read about the wide variety of birds in the world and how they interact with each other and their environments. I loved the chapter on the author's flock of chickens who go and visit the neighbors (without crossing the road) and excitedly greet the author every time they see her. The description of the orphan baby hummingbirds was also a delight. I have to admit that I learned more about birds than I thought I would and enjoyed every minute of it.
Both entertaining and educational, this is a book for bird lovers or really any animal lover. Sy Montgomery is an intrepid naturalist whose insatiable curiosity about the natural world invests this book with a contagious joy in the subject. She has chosen some of my favorite families of birds, too. Hummingbirds and Parrots top the list, but I found her chapter about the Cassowary fascinating as well.
Living with four chickens, I laughed along with Sy and learned some new ways of thinking when it comes to dealing with a flock. I also enjoyed her experiences with other types of birds, and her ideas about how birds think. These essays are insightful, and because they're grounded in her personal experiences with everything from baby hummingbirds to hunting falcons, they speak with authority.
May 27, 2010 Carolyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Birders and nature enthusiasts
Recommended to Carolyn by: Lance Wyman
This is a great book for anyone who likes wildlife, especially birds. Although a scientist, the author intended this book for a general audience. She conveyed a lot of interesting information while keeping the tone light and personal. At times her emotional response to nature moved me nearly to tears with its funny, touching, and awestruck observations.
I have come to enjoy the works of this author. As it happens she lives in my neck of the woods, and I am somewhat familiar with her neighborhood, which makes her seem like a neighbor. When Birdology was first published, I had the opportunity to hear her talk about it at a local bookstore. Her writing style is casual and friendly.
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Part Indiana Jones, part Emily Dickinson, as the Boston Globe describes her, Sy Montgomery is an author, naturalist, documentary scriptwriter, and radio commentator who has traveled to some of the worlds most remote wildernesses for her work. She has worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba, been hunted by a tiger in India, swum with pink dolphins in the Amazon, and been undressed b ...more
More about Sy Montgomery...
The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas The Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea (Scientists in the Field Series)

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