142. Christopher W. Leahy: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore


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There are bird nests that you can eat. Some birds go “anting,” a behavior in which they rub ants all over their feathers and skin. A mockingbird can emit up to 200 distinct noises. These facts, and many more, are encapsulated in Christopher Leahy’s new book, Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore.

Leahy highlights his A to Z treasury of bird facts with captivating stories and illuminating insights on most all things bird related. From revealing why birds are named the way they are, to describing what “twitching” is; from discussing the importance of pioneering ornithologists like John James Audubon and Florence Bailey (who wrote what is considered the first bird field guide), to hawkwatching; the evening will give backyard birders and enthusiasts of the natural world something to crow about. Leahy’s bird knowledge is as wide-ranging as the migratory patterns of an Arctic tern, discussing, as well, birds as they’ve appeared in literature, art, religion, folklore, and more. Fun and inspiring, it gives a renewed appreciation for our feathered friends.

Christopher Leahy holds the Gerald A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Buy the Book—Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore (Hardcover)Third Place Books

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153 episodes