Dr. Roger Lederer is a professor of biological sciences at California State University, Chico. He has published papers and books on ecology, science education, and ornithology. Dr. Lederer has served as a consultant to governments, schools, and organizations like BBC, National Geographic, National Public Radio, National Canadian Television, the Guinness Book of World Records, and many others through his popular website, ornithology.com.
Odd Birds is more than just a Hollywood memoir or tell-all. At its heart, this book is a coming-of-age story in which Ian wrestles with an ever evolving question— how can he still be himself, while also being a celebrity. Each humorous and heartfelt story features a particular bird—sometimes literal, at other times figurative. Using this framework, Ian explores a variety of topics, including growing up, life as a television actor and nature lover, and whether it is better to shave or wax one’s chest for an on-screen love scene.
A funny and heartwarming window into Ian’s life, Odd Birds is a must-read for fans of nature writing and memoir alike.
What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous—two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.
The fame that resulted was extraordinary. Yet there was a side to their relationship that never made the papers. They were emotionally connected to one another. They shared a deep bond far beyond science. Alex missed Irene when she was away. He was jealous when she paid attention to other parrots, or even people. He liked to show her who was boss. He loved to dance. He sometimes became bored by the repetition of his tests, and played jokes on her. Sometimes they sniped at each other. Yet nearly every day, they each said, "I love you."
Alex and Irene stayed together through thick and thin—despite sneers from experts, extraordinary financial sacrifices, and a nomadic existence from one university to another. The story of their thirty-year adventure is equally a landmark of scientific achievement and of an unforgettable human-animal bond.