Cover Image: The Love Lives of Birds

The Love Lives of Birds

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Member Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Love Lives of Birds: Courting and Mating Rituals by Laura Erickson 

3.5 stars

This is obviously a rather niche book! I am a huge bird lover and always want to increase my knowledge about the lives of birds so when I saw this book on netgalley, I knew I had to get it. It didn't quite live up to expectations but I did still enjoy this easy, light read.

The book is split up into 35 birds where the author describes the mating rituals and love lifes of each of the birds. There was some nice information about each bird and I learnt a decent amount but I wish there had been even more information. A lot of the writing was the author comparing each bird's love life to something from modern pop culture. So they compared them to song lyrics, poems, films or musicals. At first this was quite amusing but as it went on I found it a little cringeworthy and wish there had been more scientific research instead. 
The birds chosen are a decent range, although nearly completely focused on birds in the USA. It would have been nice to have seen birds from all over the world (there wasn't one British bird included).
The digital ARC provided from netgalley was a bit of a mess which made reading the book harder but I have not penalised for this as obviously the final product won't be so messy!
I loved the illustrations of the birds even in black and white on a kindle screen they were stunning so I know the coloured ones in the book will be beautiful. 

Overall, it was a decent book about birds but I think there are probably better books out there to learn from.

Please note that I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Birds and their behaviours are marvelous, marvelous things.  Mysterious, too.  Bird watching is a relatively new pursuit for me and this book has taught me so much about what birds seek in a mate from age (I had no idea!) to colour to strutting to huddling to proferring food and twigs.  Then the action happens, eggs are laid and and babies are reared (or not).

Using beautiful watercolour drawings, wit, humour and the art of stringing together lovely (and lively!) prose, Laura Erickson immediately drew me in.  I was hooked and just wanted to read more and more!  Learning about which of 35 birds mate for life and which do not, for various reasons, was especially fascinating.  I enjoyed how birds are likened to literary figures.  My favourite mating/love rituals and descriptions include the kingfisher, Florida scrub-jay and screech owl.  One of the most surprising is the loon.

The writing is incredibly accessible and easily understood.  The end came too quickly!  I would dearly love to learn more about birds and other creatures by this author.  

If you are into birds in any way, please read this astonishing book.  I can't stop talking about it!

My sincere thank you to Storey Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this delightful book in exchange for an honest review.  Much appreciated.
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What an endearing book on the love life of birds! I especially liked the chapter on Chickadees, which is already one of my favorite birds, and how the author describes their love life as being like a Jane Austen novel. 
Laura uses these types of descriptive stories mixed with facts to teach the reader about this amorous aspect of avian behavior. A very enjoyable read!
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What an interesting and enjoyable read! Laura Erickson does an excellent job making this scientific book earthy and relatable. The author describes the mating 'call' of more than 30 species of birds, and it is beautifully illustarted with watercolor drawings. 
I especially enjoyed her use of music lyrics, characters in books and movies, to make a point. I thought these details added a playful nuance to the book which made it even more relatable.

Thank you NetGalley, Laura Erickson and Storey Publishing for a wonderful, interesting book!
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The Love Lives of Birds is a well written, layman accessible manual written by Laura Erickson. Due out 27th Oct 2020 from Storey Publishing, it's 152 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.

This is a well written nonfiction collection of birds and their mating behaviors. The book contains a general introduction followed by more than 30 bird species arranged alphabetically by common name. Each of the entries contains an illustration (see cover), along with a short 2-3 page essay on basic mating and pairbonding behavior. The book is full of interesting facts and trivia about each of the birds included although the author's anthropomorphism was a bit heavy going sometimes. I also felt the lack of proper nomenclature was a significant minus.

The book is written in simple accessible language and would be a good choice for younger bird enthusiasts, public or classroom library book, or the like.

Three and a half stars, rounded up for the engaging text and beautiful illustrations.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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The Love Lives of Birds by Laura Erickson. This book had a lot of interesting  facts. The pictures were nice illustrations.
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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. This book is about the love lives of birds. The watercolor illustrations are magical and the information about each species is interesting and concise. Lovely book.
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This book is for the birds...bird lover's that is. I absolutely adored reading about the sizing up, the courtship, the mating and nurturing rituals of nesting and fledgling of some of my favorite feathered friends.
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This gentle nonfiction title features beautiful watercolor illustrations of various birds. Erickson heavily relies on song lyrics and plot lines for classic movies and musicals to describe the courtships of the birds. Would recommend it to any adult who is interested in learning about the love lives of our feathered friends.
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Award winning birder and author, Laura Erickson reveals the secret life of 35 bird species in such an entertaining manner that all ages will enjoy the  illustrated and informative stories of how each species chooses a mate and how they raise their young.  Some birds last together a season and some a lifetime. All species are different.. If you like nature, this is a must.
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A fascinating exploration of the love lives and breeding behaviours of certain breeds of birds. Very interesting and should do very well for the American market but perhaps not so much for the international reader.
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A lovely book all-round!
Right from the start, the cover, this is a beautiful book. The art alone is, well, a work of art. Each picture detailed and charming. 
It is about the content though and from the Adelie Penguin to the Whooping Crane (you thought I was going to say Zebra Dove? I would have, but it isn’t included, but the Whooping Cranes made it into the book with their mating dance. 
Each bird is accompanied by an image and a factual description of the mating rituals written like a tale. It makes a good evening read or a book to come back to every so often when you are looking at a specific animal.
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This top-flight book is beautifully illustrated with coloured art and takes a refreshing look at American birds. Each species is compared to a human-familiar couple or trope, and we see how it works for them to enable the raising of healthy chicks. 

The cowbird behaves like the cuckoo over here, but differs in other ways and its behaviour is explained. The bird used to follow herds of buffalo for the insects they stirred up, and can't stay with a nest for several weeks. So the female leaves her egg in another bird's nest, where it can be raised. Despite picking on smaller birds for this purpose, the cowbird egg will hatch more quickly and the fast-growing youngster, while not attacking its new siblings, will demand plenty of their food. When fledged, it will go and find a flock of cowbirds, despite perhaps never having seen one. 

Other birds mate for life, or for the season, or for just this clutch, and some don't pretend to be faithful. They are more faithful to the territory, because that provides food and shelter. 

From the scrub jay to the blue-footed booby, the red knot to the bald eagle, these are beautifully depicted and charmingly described. We also learn terms like allopreening - preening the mate's feathers, and reasons why the mockingbird mimics; perhaps to say it has encountered all these objects/ beasts and survived, so it is wise.  Wonderful.

I downloaded an e-ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
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I love this book! I love the charming, detailed, beautiful watercolors through-out
the book!  This is a must-buy and gift to friends that love birds as I do. 

Thank you so much, Laura Erickson, the publisher, and NetGalley for giving me
the book to read and rate. It's gorgeous~
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Focusing on birds in the US, this book uses analogies to human romance to make the lives of many American birds relatable to the layman. By avoiding scientific terms and illustrated with charming, detailed watercolors, this book is a delight for bird lovers.
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Birds are quite weird really. The pigeons in my garden spend so much time loudly flapping around each other that I wonder how they ever manage to make the necessary contact for reproduction. The New York pigeons featured in this book seem to be much more sophisticated than our English ones. But this book is more about the courtship than the nuts and bolts (although there is a drawing of some penguins apparently getting down to it, near the front of the book.)
Erickson presents her ornithological facts with a big dollop of anthropomorphism and lots of referencing popular culture –a few of which, unfortunately, I didn’t get  ( Nick and Nora??!!)  and others which I felt started to get a bit tedious. Nevertheless, she knows her birds and enjoys them …and that really shines through in this book.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc.
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I am so happy with The Love Lives of Birds! I love birds (we keep lovebirds and parakeets, and I love birdwatching!), so I was very excited to receive a free digital ARC of this e-book! Birds have so much to teach us about unconditional love and partnership, and bird lovers will be impressed with this book. Written and Laura Erickson, this book is a work of art. I loved the touching dedication at the beginning of the book, I thought it was a perfect way to relate human nature to birds. My favorite chapter was ‘Living in Jane Austen’s World” because she is my all-time favorite author and I loved how the Black-Capped Chickadee was compared to her novels. I also liked the chapter that compared Edgar Allen Poe to the crow. I enjoyed the beautiful watercolor-style art of the birds and appreciated the alphabetical organization. More importantly, I learned so much about bird mating styles and habits that I did not know before. This was a really beautiful and fun read and I would be happy to own a physical copy of this book..
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A delightful read about birds mating rituals; small, bite-sized summaries about how various types of birds court one another. Fun pop culture references and lovely illustrations.
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THE LOVE LIVES OF BIRDS: COURTING AND MATING RITUALS by Laura Erickson is the first book that I have read by this author and the title describes what the book covers. It is a non-fiction book that covers 35 species of birds which range from common backyard birds to birds one would have to travel far afield to find. Which birds mate for life? Which parent defends the territory or incubates the eggs or raises the young?  Which species are faithful to their partner? Who coos, sings, dances, stretches their neck and bill to the sky, bows, allopreens, or brings food or nest material? The answers may surprise you for some species. Spring is here and so are the courting and mating rituals of many of our summer visitors.

This book is written in layman’s terms so you don’t have to be an expert birder to enjoy it. Additionally, I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor that showed up several times in the book. Additionally, she drew comparisons and references to characters in plays, books and movies making the book even more relatable and engaging. The drawings are great, but I would have loved more. 

The author has been birding since 1975, worked as Science Editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, is a contributing editor and columnist for BirdWatching magazine and has many other professional ornithology credits and this shows in her in-depth knowledge of the courtship and mating rituals described in this book. 

As an avid birder since 1984 and having lived in four states during that time, I was familiar with most of the birds covered in the book. However, I still learned a few new facts. I recommend this to those that enjoy watching and learning about birds. The writing style is engaging and focused on courtship and mating. Many books about birds try to discuss everything and don’t give the reader enough details about anything. This one found the right focus and balance and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Many thanks to Storey Publishing, LLC and Laura Erickson for a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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