One Hundred Birds and how They Got Their Names

Algonquin Books

How did cranes come to symbolize matrimonial happiness? Why were magpies the only creatures that would not go inside Noah's Ark? Birds and bird imagery are integral parts of our language and culture. With her remarkable ability to dig up curious and captivating facts, Diana Wells hatches a treat for active birders and armchair enthusiasts alike. Meet the intrepid adventurers and naturalists who risked their lives to describe and name new birds. Learn the mythical stories of the gods and goddess associated with bird names. Explore the avian emblems used by our greatest writers--from Coleridge's albatross in "The Ancient Mariner" to Poe's raven.

A sampling of the bird lore you'll find inside:

Benjamin Franklin didn't want the bald eagle on our National Seal because of its "bad moral character," (it steals from other birds); he lobbied for the turkey instead.

Chaffinches, whose Latin name means "unmarried," are called "bachelor birds" because they congregate in flocks of one gender.

Since mockingbirds mimic speech, some Native American tribes fed mockingbird hearts to their children, believing it helped them learn language.

A group of starlings is called a murmuration because they chatter so when they roost in the thousands.

Organized alphabetically, each of these bird tales is accompanied by a two-color line drawing. Dip into 100 Birds and you'll never look at a sparrow, an ostrich, or a wren in quite the same way.
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About the author

Diana Wells is the author of 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names and 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names, has written for Friends Journal, and is contributing editor of the journal Greenprints. Born in Jerusalem, she has lived in England and Italy and holds an honors degree in history from Oxford University. She now lives with her husband on a farm in Pennsylvania.

Lauren Jarrett is a contributor for Square One Publishing titles including: Great Natural Breads Made Easy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Dec 31, 2002
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Pages
297
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ISBN
9781565122819
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Birdwatching Guides
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Diana Wells's intriguing exploration into the rewards of relationships--both the canine and human varieties--begins when she reluctantly starts seeing a psychologist, Beth, during a difficult time in her life. With no insurance to pay for counseling, a barter is arranged in which the client becomes part-time caretaker to the therapist's dog, Luggs, a sweet, clumsy black Labrador retriever.

As Wells examines her past--her peripatetic childhood, her eccentric family, her grief over the deaths of loved ones--Luggs provides a bridge between therapist and patient. Dog lover by nature, historian by trade, Wells finds herself curious about the connections that dogs and humans have shared for centuries--and what these bonds tell us about our own psyches.

Wells observes that training a dog has much in common with the therapeutic techniques her psychologist employs. Looking into recent experiments that have proved dogs better at interpreting human behavior than chimps or wolves, Wells explores the subtleties of her own relationship with dogs. Increasingly she finds herself agreeing with Diogenes, the original Greek cynic (the word cynic comes from the greek kuon, meaning "dog"), who said that unless we think like dogs, happiness will elude us.

Wells analyzes what we name our dogs, how we breed them, how we've explored the wilderness with them, the kinds of literature we write about them, why we love them, and, most important, what we can learn from them.

When an unexpected illness befalls Beth, Luggs comforts the two women, and his devotion helps Wells come to accept that relationships--despite the possibility of hurt and pain--are what life is all about.
Diana Wells's intriguing exploration into the rewards of relationships--both the canine and human varieties--begins when she reluctantly starts seeing a psychologist, Beth, during a difficult time in her life. With no insurance to pay for counseling, a barter is arranged in which the client becomes part-time caretaker to the therapist's dog, Luggs, a sweet, clumsy black Labrador retriever.

As Wells examines her past--her peripatetic childhood, her eccentric family, her grief over the deaths of loved ones--Luggs provides a bridge between therapist and patient. Dog lover by nature, historian by trade, Wells finds herself curious about the connections that dogs and humans have shared for centuries--and what these bonds tell us about our own psyches.

Wells observes that training a dog has much in common with the therapeutic techniques her psychologist employs. Looking into recent experiments that have proved dogs better at interpreting human behavior than chimps or wolves, Wells explores the subtleties of her own relationship with dogs. Increasingly she finds herself agreeing with Diogenes, the original Greek cynic (the word cynic comes from the greek kuon, meaning "dog"), who said that unless we think like dogs, happiness will elude us.

Wells analyzes what we name our dogs, how we breed them, how we've explored the wilderness with them, the kinds of literature we write about them, why we love them, and, most important, what we can learn from them.

When an unexpected illness befalls Beth, Luggs comforts the two women, and his devotion helps Wells come to accept that relationships--despite the possibility of hurt and pain--are what life is all about.
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