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What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young
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“If we learn to read the birds-and their behaviors and vocalizations-through them, we can read the world at large... if we replace collision with connection, learn to read these details, feel at home, relax, and are respectful--ultimately the birds will yield to us the first rite of passage: a close encounter with an animal otherwise wary of our presence.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“As awareness grows, appreciation grows too. As appreciation grows, so does empathy.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“When I was growing up under Tom's (Tom Brown, the Tracker) watchful gaze, I often wondered why he seemed so distant and quiet so much of the time. This was why. He was stilling the chatter, quieting his mind, connecting and listening: practicing the routine of invisibility.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“Eons ago, Homo sapiens were just as alert and aware as all other creatures, and for the same reason. They needed to be. Now we don't need to be - or do we, but just don't understand this anymore? Our sensory equipment and brains are still designed for this awareness. These instincts are still in each of us, just buried, maybe deeply buried. Connecting with bird language begins the process of unearthing them.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“In a culture in which "connection" usually refers to the strength of the cell phone signal, quieting the mind - even just sitting alone in the backyard, much less in the forest - can be a difficult rite of passage.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“...when we "lose our mind" and "come to our senses" in the fullest possible way, the chattering, texting, e-mailing, twittering mind will eventually quiet down and almost silence itself. This is a sacred and connected silence...It's like a deep, still pond reflecting the stars of the night sky. I believe this is the baseline for human consciousness, and I'm convinced that the birds are the best mentors in the natural world for bringing us to it.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“The natural world is a culture of vigilance based on carefully tended relationships and connections, maintained through recognition, mutual respect, and “jungle etiquette” that in the end preserves the baseline and conserves energy.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“Listening to Spanish, Italian, or German opera, you, like me, may have no idea what the words of a particular aria mean, but you don't need this knowledge to understand the feeling they convey. You can tell if it's a song of pleasure, jubilation, triumph, or tragedy.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“The animals are confident in their sensory awareness and their ability to respond to all provocations accordingly. This awareness allows them to avoid danger, and avoiding danger conserves energy. It is in their best interests to have as early a warning of trouble as possible, not only, obviously, to escape death and live to breed another day, but also to avoid the trauma of the fight-or-flight response, which triggers several biological reactions, all of them energy-intensive. Heart rate increases, adrenaline surges, stored energy is consumed, the body’s overall resistance suffers, and susceptibility to starvation and disease increases. And then either the fight or the flight is hard work. (I’ve chopped a lot of wood in my day. It’s hard work, but nothing compared with the drain of taking a final exam or meeting a production deadline. The mental energy these tasks require, and the anxiety they produce—the adrenaline and other hormonal surges—are even more debilitating for the body than sheer physical exercise.)”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“Consider the master elk herd bull who has earned the right to mate with all the cows in the herd. Granted, mating is energy expensive, but just as expensive is all the stress and anxiety used in warding off the competition. This elk bull is virtually trapped in a constant state of fight-or-flight, and the choice is mandated by instinct: fight if necessary. He cannot eat enough, he cannot rest enough, and he’s using up his fat and bone marrow reserves at an alarming rate. That is why, when winter sets in, this huge, majestic, vital, and powerful animal is the elk most likely to die in late winter or early spring. The expenditure of all that energy can kill it. In effect, the alpha male’s “sacrifice” helps conserve the energy of all the other bulls, and may the best one win during the next rutting season.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“...have you ever seen a mother robin in her territorial mode? I watched one brutalize another female robin, then a minute later strike a hard blow to the back of a considerably larger Steller's Jay...Generally speaking, and again from my observations, most males of most species are actually fairly low-key and oriented toward to the idea of defense through song and display and, if necessary, scuffling. Progecting chicks in the nest, a female will be quick to drive away anyone deemed an intruder, and without much fanfare They're more direct and seem tougher to me. They go for the jugular, almost literally. As another bird, I'd much rather deal with a male.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“if you learn to listen to the silence, you’ll hear more of everything else.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
“Bird language is about acquiring some "jungle etiquette," and the sit spot is where this starts to happen...Instead of flushing out the wrens and chickadees and robins and sparrows with a major bird plow, Jack learned to sit quietly and watch, listen, learn and connect.”
Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World