Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival

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From flying squirrels to grizzly bears, and from torpid turtles to insects with antifreeze, the animal kingdom relies on some staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter. Unlike their human counterparts, who must alter the environment to accommodate physical limitations, animals are adaptable to an amazing range of conditions.

Examining everything from food sources in the extremely barren winter land-scape to the chemical composition that allows certain creatures to survive, Heinrich's Winter World awakens the largely undiscovered mysteries by which nature sustains herself through winter's harsh, cruel exigencies.

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About the author

The author of numerous bestselling and award-winning books, Bernd Heinrich is a professor of biology at the University of Vermont. He divides his time between Vermont and the forests of western Maine.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Oct 13, 2009
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780061757631
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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When I first began to collect materials for this work it was my intention, to divide the book into two parts. Of these I intended the first to be concerned only with the facts of animal intelligence, while the second was to have treated of these facts in their relation to the theory of Descent. Finding, however, as I proceeded, that the material was too considerable in amount to admit of being comprised within the limits of a single volume, I have made arrangements with the publishers of the International Scientific Series to bring out the second division of the work as a separate treatise, under the title A Mental Evolution. This treatise I hope to get ready for press within a year or two. My object in the work as a whole is twofold. First, I have thought it desirable that there should be something resembling a textbook of the facts of Comparative Psychology, to which men of science, and also metaphysicians, may turn whenever they may have occasion to acquaint themselves with the particular level of intelligence to which this or that species of animal attains. Hitherto the endeavor of assigning these levels has been almost exclusively in the hands of popular writers and as these have, for the most part, merely strung together, with discrimination more or less inadequate, innumerable anecdotes of the display of animal intelligence, their books ire valueless as works of reference. So much, indeed, is this the case, that Comparative Psychology has been virtually excluded from the hierarchy of the sciences. If we except the methodical researches of a few distinguished naturalists, it would appear that the phenomena of mind in animals, having constituted so much and so long the theme of unscientific authors, are now considered well nigh unworthy of serious treatment by scientific methods.
There is a tremendous information gap between scientists working in the outdoor fields and the millions of others who share their interest in natural processes. The failure of naturalists to provide information to the public has allowed some amazing myths to develop. Far worse, however, this knowledge gap can bring about actual damage to the environment through laws and public policy initiatives based on erroneous information. Growing Up Wild bridges this gap, bringing the latest results of scientific research to the public in an irreverent, humorous style that would make the book worth reading for entertainment value alone. The author, who combines careers as a wildlife professional and newspaper columnist, provides an eclectic mix of topics from toads to turkeys in a style that, while always humorous, ranges from gonzo journalism to formal poetrysometimes in the same essay.

Many of the essays contained in the book began life as one of the authors weekly newspaper columns. These were supposed to focus on a single organism and give some interesting facts about it. That is, they were supposed to be typical nature pieces. The questions that came in, in response to the original columns, seemed to indicate that people were not even reading all the way through. So he changed the format to start out with some outrageous tale to pique the interest (and make people wonder how on earth this was going to segue to the real topic), move on to the main topic, then hook back to the anecdote at the end. The response was quite overwhelming. Since the material in this book has a mix of early and more recent columns, the reader can watch this style develop.

There is something for everyone in this collection of essays. Topics range from single-celled organisms to whales. In addition to recreational reading, this book provides excellent supplementary material for students. In spite of the humor and light tone, each essay provides an in-depth look into the lives of our wild neighbors, as well as making some pointed commentary on the culture and political processes that affect them.

 The Book That Launched an International Movement
 
“An absolute must-read for parents.” —The Boston Globe
 
“It rivals Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer
 
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.

As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.

In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.
 Now includes
A Field Guide with 100 Practical Actions We Can Take 
Discussion Points for Book Groups, Classrooms, and Communities 
Additional Notes by the Author 
New and Updated Research from the U.S. and Abroad
  
The acclaimed scientist's encounters with individual wild birds, yielding “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insights and discoveries

In his modern classics One Man’s Owl and Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich has written memorably about his relationships with wild ravens and a great horned owl.
 
In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. There are countless books on bird behavior, but Heinrich argues that some of the most amazing bird behaviors fall below the radar of what most birds do in aggregate. Heinrich’s “passionate observations [that] superbly mix memoir and science” (New York Times Book Review) lead to fascinating questions — and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher, while bringing food to the young in their nest, is attacked by the other flycatcher nearby. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich’s cabin deliver the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings, and to make a related discovery about nest-cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground, and lands on the grass below. It can’t fly. What will happen next?
 
Heinrich “looks closely, with his trademark ‘hands-and-knees science’ at its most engaging, [delivering] what can only be called psychological marvels of knowing” (Boston Globe).
 
An eminent biologist shares the joys of bird-watching and how observing the anomalous behaviors of individual birds has guided his research.
 
Heinrich (Emeritus, Biology/Univ. of Vermont; The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration, 2014, etc.) smoothly describes how studying the daily lives of birds in their natural environments allows him to experience their world vicariously. Now retired and living in a cabin in the Maine woods, he devotes himself to closely observing “his avian neighbors, visitors, and vagrants, and keep[ing] daily records throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter.” Every year, he welcomes a pair of broad-wing hawks who feast at a vernal pond populated by frogs, spring peepers, and salamanders while refurbishing their old nest. Unusually, they provide a fern cover on the nest, which they update on a daily basis after their chicks hatch. Heinrich also includes anecdotes from an earlier time when he still lived in Vermont. Awakened one morning by the loud drumming of a male woodpecker on a nearby apple tree, the author wondered if perhaps he was seeking to attract a female. Surprisingly, when a female was drawn to the sound, he stopped drumming and flew away. The same behavior was repeated the following day. The author’s observations led him to conclude that the bird's drumming was not part of a mating ritual but rather a noisy advertisement of his nest-building skills. Vireos nesting near his cabin allowed him to observe how they deliberately reduced the number of eggs they were hatching to accommodate the reduced food supply after an unseasonal freeze. Heinrich explains that bird-watching has been an important part of his life since he was a boy on his family's farm. When he was 6, they moved from Germany to Maine. Finding familiar birds nesting “immediately made this place our home,” he writes.
 
An engaging memoir of the opportunities for doing scientific research without leaving one's own backyard. (Kirkus)

 
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