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  • Published: 3 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241990148
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

Birds and Us

A 12,000 Year History, from Cave Art to Conservation

A sweeping and lyrical history of the relationship between birdlife and humankind over twelve millennia, exploring how birds have captured our imaginations and inspired our culture and our science.

In Birds and Us, award-winning writer and ornithologist Tim Birkheadtakes us on an epic and dazzling journey through this mutual history with birds, from the ibises mummified and deified by Ancient Egyptians to Renaissance experiments on woodpecker anatomy, from Victorian obsessions with egg collecting to the present fight to save endangered species and restore their habitats.

Weaving in stories from his own life as a scientist, including far-flung expeditions to wondrous Neolithic caves in Spain and the bustling guillemot colonies of the Faroe Islands, this rich and fascinating book is the culmination of a lifetime's research and unforgettably shows how birds shaped us, and how we have shaped them.

  • Published: 3 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241990148
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

About the author

Tim Birkhead

Tim Birkhead is an award-winning author, scientist and university lecturer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Zoology in the School of Biosciences at the University of Sheffield.

Praise for Birds and Us

'Birkhead's approach to writing - hard, clear sentences; deep, revelatory looking - has the same effect as his microscope, making us see the familiar with new eyes'

Alex Preston

'Justly acclaimed for his brilliance at explaining complex science in a beguilingly lively style'

BBC Wildlife

'A fascinating book about the close and often surprising relationship between birds and people, written by one of our leading ornithologists'

Stephen Moss

'A brilliant and passionate celebration - how birds enrich our lives and now, more than ever, depend on us'

Nick Davies, author of Cuckoo

'Tim Birkhead is an eminent scientific ornithologist and a masterful science communicator. Birds and Us wings its way through 12,000 years of our species' engagement with the avian world. He tells it all with delightful gusto, plaiting personal encounters (with birds and bird-people) with challenging historical research and bewitching scientific rigor'

Tim Dee

'Thought-provoking at every turn, this inspiring, shocking, wonder-filled exploration of our relationship with birds from earliest times delivers a sobering challenge to us living with birds today'

Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

'A compelling combination of first-hand experiences, human stories, birdlore and scientific puzzles that take us through a 12,000-year pageant to the present day...the whole narrative fizzes with his infectious enthusiasm, curiosity and energy'

Jeremy Mynott, TLS

'A beguiling and beautifully illustrated study... extraordinary details fly off the page, from how guillemot eggs refuse to harden when boiled, to the discovery of millions of mummified ibises in Egyptian catacombs. Birkhead is a personable, often amusing, guide'

Mail on Sunday (5 star review)

'[Birkhead's] book arrives enticingly illustrated, but it's his obsessive passion which is most transfixing'


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