Bernd Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can be spied on only by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father", as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines and, in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world.
At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis we become their intimates, too. Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven follows an exotic journey - from New England to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the High Arctic - offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature. Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling, at once lyrical and scientific.
©1999 Bernd Heinrich (P)2016 Tantor
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"16+ hours of Ravens, great stories & narration"
This is a very enjoyable listen. I figure the feedback is high because the people who will buy this book and spend more than 16 hours listening about ravens are people who are interested in ravens. I am on some Facebook groups where some people openly speak about hating ravens and shooting them. Personally, I don't mind if ravens take some of my chicken eggs, and when a pair of ravens brings their young here every year, it is fun to watch the youngsters learn about flying, watch their awkward landings, and their parents show them how to drink from my horses' water barrels. I have had a raven do barrel rolls as it flew toward me, on different days, and learned from this audio book that they can do that and more.
I was surprised to learn that ravens can live for decades, can even be older than 50 years. Plus, a lot more about them. The stories of individual and groups of ravens studied were great, and all the conclusions that the author had come to about behavior and physical abilities were very interesting. The things biologists think to do to watch what an animal will do in reaction are fascinating. Sometimes funny.
A previous book about birds in general, called Bird Sense, made me think hard about what biologists have to do to study birds. Lots of climbing of trees or cliffs for one thing. Or hiding in awful places for long hours. Mind of the Raven had more climbing, hiding, and wearing strange outfits to see what the birds were doing or would do. There was a lot of handling of dead animals to feed the ravens. Biology is interesting, but doesn't look easy.
Norman Dietz, the narrator, did a great job. No dry documentary narration here, he has a sense of humor and there were parts in this book where I laughed out loud. If you enjoy humor, listen to the Patrick McManus books Norman Dietz narrated. They are funny. I am not into hunting or fishing, but the stories are hilarious.
But, if you want to learn more about this intelligent bird, this book, Mind of the Raven, is a lot of fun because Bernd Heinrich really loves what he does.
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