Where Song Began

Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300226802

Category: Science

Page: 424

View: 5949

An authoritative and entertaining exploration of Australia’s distinctive birds and their unheralded role in global evolution Renowned for its gallery of unusual mammals, Australia is also a land of extraordinary birds. But unlike the mammals, the birds of Australia flew beyond the continent’s boundaries and around the globe many millions of years ago. This eye-opening book tells the dynamic but little-known story of how Australia provided the world with songbirds and parrots, among other bird groups, why Australian birds wield surprising ecological power, how Australia became a major evolutionary center, and why scientific biases have hindered recognition of these discoveries. From violent, swooping magpies to tool-making cockatoos, Australia’s birds are strikingly different from birds of other lands—often more intelligent and aggressive, often larger and longer-lived. Tim Low, a renowned biologist with a rare storytelling gift, here presents the amazing evolutionary history of Australia’s birds. The story of the birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of the continent itself and also the people who inhabit it.

Where Song Began

Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300221665

Category: Nature

Page: 424

View: 3164

An authoritative and entertaining exploration of Australia's distinctive birds and their unheralded role in global evolution Renowned for its gallery of unusual mammals, Australia is also a land of extraordinary birds. But unlike the mammals, the birds of Australia flew beyond the continent's boundaries and around the globe many millions of years ago. This eye-opening book tells the dynamic but little-known story of how Australia provided the world with songbirds and parrots, among other bird groups, why Australian birds wield surprising ecological power, how Australia became a major evolutionary center, and why scientific biases have hindered recognition of these discoveries. From violent, swooping magpies to tool-making cockatoos, Australia's birds are strikingly different from birds of other lands--often more intelligent and aggressive, often larger and longer-lived. Tim Low, a renowned biologist with a rare storytelling gift, here presents the amazing evolutionary history of Australia's birds. The story of the birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of the continent itself and also the people who inhabit it.

Where Song Began

Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0857976370

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 8182

Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and are long-lived. They're also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds. But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin's time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world's scientists until 2004 - because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, few Australians are aware of the ramifications, something which prompted the writing of this book. Tim Low has a rare gift for illuminating complex ideas in highly readable prose, and making of the whole a dynamic story. Here he brilliantly explains how our birds came to be so extraordinary, including the large role played by the foods they consume (birds, too, are what they eat), and by our climate, soil, fire, and Australia's legacy as a part of Gondwana. The story of its birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of Australia itself, and one that continues to unfold, so much having changed in the last decade about what we know of our ancient past. Where Song Began also shines a light on New Guinea as a biological region of Australia, as much a part of the continent as Tasmania. This is a work that goes far beyond the birds themselves to explore the relationships between Australia's birds and its people, and the ways in which scientific prejudice have hindered our understanding.

Feral Future

The Untold Story of Australia's Exotic Invaders

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226494197

Category: Science

Page: 394

View: 4543

A decade ago, Tim Low journeyed to the remote northernmost tip of Australia. Instead of the pristine rain forests he expected, he found jungles infested with Latin American carpet grass and feral cattle. That incident helped inspire Feral Future, a passionate account of the history and implications of invasive species in that island nation, with consequences for ecological communities around the globe. Australia is far from alone in facing horrific ecological and economic damage from invading plants and animals, and in Low's capable hands, Australia's experiences serve as a wake-up call for all of us. He covers how invasive species like cane toads and pond apple got to Australia (often through misguided but intentional introductions) and what we can do to stop them. He also covers the many pests that Australia has exported to the world, including the paperbark tree (Melaleuca) that infests hundreds of thousands of acres in south Florida.

The New Nature

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 1743772165

Category: Nature

Page: 416

View: 4967

Winner of the NIB Waverley Award for Literature. Forget about wilderness, Tim Low says, nature lives in our cities and gardens, exploiting everything we do. Many endangered species now live in industrial zones and cities. In our forests, native creatures have become pests. Fifteen years on, The New Nature continues to challenge the way we view the interactions between human beings and nature, and pushes us to review our relationship with Australia's wilderness.

Silent Spring

Author: Rachel Carson

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 9780618249060

Category: Nature

Page: 378

View: 8117

Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.

Island Home

A Landscape Memoir

Author: Tim Winton

Publisher: Milkweed Editions

ISBN: 1571319581

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 5450

A wild, rhapsodic celebration of Australia and its landscape, from one of its finest writers

The Biggest Estate on Earth

How Aborigines Made Australia

Author: Bill Gammage

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 174331132X

Category: History

Page: 434

View: 9683

Reveals the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people in presettlement Australia Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park, with extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands, and abundant wildlife. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than most people have ever realized. For more than a decade, he has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has uncovered an extraordinarily complex system of land management using fire, the life cycles of native plants, and the natural flow of water to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. Aboriginal people spent far less time and effort than Europeans in securing food and shelter, and this book reveals how. Once Aboriginal people were no longer able to tend their country, it became overgrown and vulnerable to the hugely damaging bushfires Australians now experience. With details of land-management strategies from around Australia, this book rewrites the history of the continent, with huge implications for today.

Bird Minds

Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds

Author: Gisela Kaplan

Publisher: CSIRO PUBLISHING

ISBN: 1486300197

Category: Nature

Page: 280

View: 1064

In her comprehensive and carefully crafted book, Gisela Kaplan demonstrates how intelligent and emotional Australian birds can be. She describes complex behaviours such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels. The author brings together evidence of many such cognitive abilities, suggesting plausible reasons for their appearance in Australian birds. Bird Minds is the first attempt to shine a critical and scientific light on the cognitive behaviour of Australian land birds. In this fascinating volume, the author also presents recent changes in our understanding of the avian brain and links these to life histories and longevity. Following on from Gisela’s well-received books on the Australian Magpie and the Tawny Frogmouth, as well as two earlier titles on birds, Bird Minds contends that the unique and often difficult conditions of Australia's environment have been crucial for the evolution of unusual complexities in avian cognition and behaviour.

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Author: Christie Watson

Publisher: Other Press, LLC

ISBN: 159051467X

Category: Fiction

Page: 448

View: 7854

Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife. But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.

A Guide to the Cockroaches of Australia

Author: David Rentz

Publisher: CSIRO PUBLISHING

ISBN: 1486300375

Category: Nature

Page: 328

View: 5363

Cockroaches! Even a mere mention of the word causes many people to recoil in horror. However, of the hundreds of species of cockroaches (or blattodeans as they are known) found in Australia, only a small number of them give the group a bad name. Just a few species that are commonly found in homes, restaurants and hospitals are responsible for thousands of dollars in expenditure to comply with health standards. A Guide to the Cockroaches of Australia is a comprehensive account of most of the 550 described species found in Australia. The book reveals their diversity and beauty, it looks in detail at their morphology, habitats and ecology, and explains how to collect and preserve them. Importantly, it will allow pest controllers, students and researchers to reliably identify most of the common pest species as well as the non-pest cockroaches. It will also, perhaps, go some way towards elevating the reputation of these much-maligned insects, and promote further study of them. 2014 Whitley Award Commendation for Field Guide.

Wild Food Plants of Australia

Author: Tim Low

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780207169304

Category: Aboriginal Australians

Page: 240

View: 2032

Tim Low has provided a truly reliable guide to our edible flora, making identification easy. Thus it is a perfect companion for bushwalkers, naturalists, scientists and, with emphasis on wild food cuisine, gourmets. Low describes more than 180 plants - from the most tasty and significant plant foods of southern and eastern Australia to the more important and spectacular inland and tropical foods. Distribution maps are provided with each description plus notes on how these plants were used in the past and can be used today. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs and line drawings there is also a guide to poisonous and non-poisonous plants, and information on introduced food plants, the nutrients found in wild food plants, on bush survival, and how to forage for and cook with wild plants.

Birdscaping Australian Gardens

Author: George Adams

Publisher: Viking

ISBN: 9780670078707

Category: Bird attracting

Page: 368

View: 2445

Wake up to the beautiful sound of birdsong every day. Discover how to identify the most common garden birds, and how to choose, grow and maintain the native plants that will attract them to your backyard. From acacias to eucalypts, and from honeyeaters to kookaburras, this essential guide will help transform any garden across Australia into an avian paradise. Featuring plant and bird directories illustrated with superb colour photographs and line drawings, as well as comprehensive planting tables and expert advice, this book has all you need to create a refuge for birds - and so preserve Australia's amazing natural heritage and biodiversity. 'This book is a masterpiece - a must-have tool in every gardener's wheelbarrow.' Costa Georgiadis, ABC's Gardening Australia

The Thorn Birds

A Novel

Author: Colleen McCullough

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0061990477

Category: Fiction

Page: 688

View: 1660

One of the most beloved novels of all time, Colleen McCullough's magnificent saga of dreams, struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian outback has enthralled readers the world over. The Thorn Birds is a chronicle of three generations of Clearys—an indomitable clan of ranchers carving lives from a beautiful, hard land while contending with the bitterness, frailty, and secrets that penetrate their family. It is a poignant love story, a powerful epic of struggle and sacrifice, a celebration of individuality and spirit. Most of all, it is the story of the Clearys' only daughter, Meggie, and the haunted priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart—and the intense joining of two hearts and souls over a lifetime, a relationship that dangerously oversteps sacred boundaries of ethics and dogma.

Why Birds Matter

Avian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services

Author: Çagan H. Sekercioglu,Daniel G. Wenny,Christopher J. Whelan

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022638277X

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 4563

For over one hundred years, ornithologists and amateur birders have jointly campaigned for the conservation of bird species, documenting not only birds’ beauty and extraordinary diversity, but also their importance to ecosystems worldwide. But while these avian enthusiasts have noted that birds eat fruit, carrion, and pests; spread seed and fertilizer; and pollinate plants, among other services, they have rarely asked what birds are worth in economic terms. In Why Birds Matter, an international collection of ornithologists, botanists, ecologists, conservation biologists, and environmental economists seeks to quantify avian ecosystem services—the myriad benefits that birds provide to humans. The first book to approach ecosystem services from an ornithological perspective, Why Birds Matter asks what economic value we can ascribe to those services, if any, and how this value should inform conservation. Chapters explore the role of birds in such important ecological dynamics as scavenging, nutrient cycling, food chains, and plant-animal interactions—all seen through the lens of human well-being—to show that quantifying avian ecosystem services is crucial when formulating contemporary conservation strategies. Both elucidating challenges and providing examples of specific ecosystem valuations and guidance for calculation, the contributors propose that in order to advance avian conservation, we need to appeal not only to hearts and minds, but also to wallets.

Call of the Reed Warbler

A New Agriculture, A New Earth

Author: Charles Massy

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603588132

Category: Food supply

Page: 528

View: 9366

In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy explores regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is the story of how a grassroots revolution--a true underground insurgency--can save the planet, help reduce and reverse climate change, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone--from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health--Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. With evocative stories, he shows how other innovative and courageous farmers are finding a new way. At stake is not only a revolution in human health and in our communities, but the very survival of the planet. For farmers, backyard gardeners, food buyers, health workers, policy makers, and public leaders alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward and a powerful and moving paean of hope. It's not too late to regenerate the earth. Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our planet, and our health.

Finding Australian Birds

A Field Guide to Birding Locations

Author: Rohan Clarke,Tim Dolby

Publisher: CSIRO PUBLISHING

ISBN: 1486300855

Category: Science

Page: 624

View: 5227

Finding Australian Birds is a guide to the special birds found across Australia's vastly varied landscapes. From the eastern rainforests to central deserts, Australia is home to some 900 species of birds. This book covers over 400 Australian bird watching sites conveniently grouped into the best birding areas, from one end of the country to the other. This includes areas such as Kakadu in the Top End and rocky gorges in the central deserts of the Northern Territory, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, rainforests distributed along the eastern Australian seaboard, some of the world's tallest forests in Tasmania, the Flinders Ranges and deserts along the iconic Strzelecki and Birdsville Tracks in South Australia, and the mallee temperate woodlands and spectacular coastlines in both Victoria and south west Western Australia. Each chapter begins with a brief description of the location, followed by a section on where to find the birds, which describes specific birdwatching sites within the location's boundaries, and information on accommodation and facilities. The book also provides a comprehensive 'Bird Finding Guide', listing all of Australia's birds with details on their abundance and where exactly to see them. Of value to both Australian birdwatchers and international visitors, this book will assist novices, birders of intermediate skill and keen 'twitchers' to find any Australian species.

Where Happiness Dwells

A History of the Dane-zaa First Nations

Author: Robin Ridington,Jillian Ridington

Publisher: UBC Press

ISBN: 0774822988

Category: Social Science

Page: 420

View: 4180

The Dane-zaa people have lived in BC's Peace River area for thousands of years. Elders documented their peoples' history and worldview, passing them on through storytelling. Language loss, however, threatens to break the bonds of knowledge transmission. At the request of the Doig River First Nations, anthropologists Robin and Jillian Ridington present a history of the Dane-zaa people based on oral histories collected over a half century of fieldwork. These powerful stories not only preserve traditional knowledge for future generations, they also tell the inspiring story of how the Dane-zaa learned to succeed and flourish in the modern world.

Welcome to Subirdia

Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife

Author: John M. Marzluff

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300210302

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 3874

Welcome to Subirdia presents a surprising discovery: the suburbs of many large cities support incredible biological diversity. Populations and communities of a great variety of birds, as well as other creatures, are adapting to the conditions of our increasingly developed world. In this fascinating and optimistic book, John Marzluff reveals how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors. Over many years of research and fieldwork, Marzluff and student assistants have closely followed the lives of thousands of tagged birds seeking food, mates, and shelter in cities and surrounding areas. From tiny Pacific wrens to grand pileated woodpeckers, diverse species now compatibly share human surroundings. By practicing careful stewardship with the biological riches in our cities and towns, Marzluff explains, we can foster a new relationship between humans and other living creatures—one that honors and enhances our mutual destiny.