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Nature Birdwatching Guides

Bird Detective

Investigating The Secret Lives Of Birds

by (author) Bridget Stutchbury

Initial publish date
May 2011
Birdwatching Guides
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2010
    List Price

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A Yale-educated professor of biology and a Governor General's Award finalist for Silence of the Songbirds, Bridget Stutchbury roams forests studying the social lives and sexual antics of birds, sharing with us the curious reasons for their strange behaviour, bright colouring and elaborate songs. Are birds truly faithful to their mates? Stutchbury explains the science behind the surprisingly sophisticated and often amusing habits of birds, drawing on examples from around the world.

In The Bird Detective, the author explains why some birds readily “divorce,” why parents don’t treat their sons and daughters equally, why females sneak in quick sex with neighbouring males and why some adults forgo breeding altogether. Stutchbury writes about the territorial nature of birds and describes their nesting habits, revealing why some species prefer to live in over-crowded groups. Perhaps most important, she illuminates how climate change and other pressures of the modern world are forcing birds to change their habits as they fight for their very survival.

About the author

Bridget Stutchbury completed her Master’s of Science at Queen’s University and her Ph.D. at Yale, and was a fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institute. She is now professor of biology at York University and is affiliated with more than a dozen organizations that seek to preserve bird habitats. In 2005, Stutchbury was named one of the Toronto Star’s “People to Watch” after her groundbreaking research into the sexual antics of birds made international headlines. Her book The Silence Of The Songbirds was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction. She lives in Woodbridge, Ontario.

Bridget Stutchbury's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A cheery little book. Stutchbury delights readers with hundreds of amazing facts and stories about birds. . . . There is plenty to engage the most serious keeper of bird lists, as well.” — The Globe and Mail

“What do our courtship rituals have in common with the mating habits of birds? Quite a bit, as it turns out. . . . Dramatic tales of avian betrayal.” — Toronto Life

“Unlike many scientists, Stutchbury is entirely comfortable using the emotional language of humans to describe bird behavior and even learn from it.” — Los Angeles Times

“Paints a picture of sexual betrayal on the bird table.”
Daily Mail (UK)