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Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival Paperback – April 7, 2009
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From Scientific American
Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
David Attenborough (The Life of Birds, The Private Life of
Plants), you'll enjoy this wonderful book. There are books
on nature which are dry and distanced: this is just the
opposite. There are also books on nature which are primarily
observational, such as Thoreau's Walden Pond and Annie Dillard's
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Neither Thoreau nor Annie Dillard
measured the rectal temperature of insects in the winter to
help determine the mechanics of heat regulation. Most of the
mammals, birds, insects, and trees looked at by the author are
his neighbors in the winter woods: the love and enjoyment and
the curiosity about his environment is very evident. He wants
to know what these creatures do to cope and survive the severe
winters where he lives in Maine and Vermont.
Heinrich writes with great warmth and humor throughout the book.
You'll follow his thoughts and discoveries about how the tiny
golden-crowned kinglet survives the winter, when logic seems to
say that it shouldn't even survive a single below-zero night.
On sunny days, even when the temperature is well below freezing,
several dozen honeybees may emerge from the hive and just a few
seconds later will all be lying dead on the snow: this is a
sacrificial testing mechanism by the hive to ensure that when
the first flowers open up that a head start can be obtained for
foraging. There are all kinds of fascinating things that you
could never imagine going on. Most of the nature in the book
centers on Heinrich's own environment, but he also readily and
often talks at length about other species from around the world.Read more ›
A word of caution - this is not a book for people seeking warm fuzzy feelings about cute furry little creatures. It is a book about reality in its full splendor.
Snapping turtles, the couch potatoes of the predator world. Snow fleas?? The food storage systems of squirrels. Jays gluing food to tree branches. Natural antifreeze? These and countless other wonders, taking place unnoticed right outside our own windows, are examined and explained in Winter World. This is a book that can be read as a whole, or, perhaps more practically, by delving into relevant chapters as curiosity dictates. It would make a great gift for science teachers or animal/nature enthusiasts. Definitely a book to be kept readily at hand, along with those bird and wildflower handbooks. Highly recommended.
The book itself starts of somewhat slow, but is interesting enough to keep you going. The author describes how various animals living in cold climates have evolved to survive and even succeed. I learned many things in this book that I was unaware of. For instance, birds and mammals are not "warm blooded" in the strictest sense of the word. Specifically, many birds and mammals have body temperatures that fluctuate in cycles to keep track with outside temperatures. Man has a 24-hour cycles to match day-night transitions; during this cycle our body temperature changes by 1 - 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Bears and other hibernating mammals have seasonal cycles to match the change in seasons. The body temperature of a hibernating bear can be 20 - 40 degrees lower than that of an active bear.
Conversely, many other animals that are considered "cold-blooded" in most high-school science textbooks actually are not. For example, a lot of insects living in cold climates will huddle together and shiver to keep their body temperature elevated above the ambient temperature.
Overall, I am glad I read this book, and would recommend it to other people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Limited to describing practices of small animals it is interesting, informing. I was a bit disappointed that the book doesn't cover larger animals such as skunks, badgers, coyotes... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ben Holberg
good book I enjoyed reading it. I enjoy spending time with my grandkids watching the animals from our sunroom.Published 10 months ago by george
Heinrich's observations and research are impeccable, and his attention to detail and patience for observation borders on madness--so this is a can't-put-down book about what goes... Read morePublished 10 months ago by C. Daniel
Reads like a long novel with all the author's personal experiences in the wild. Often comic, like shaking trees to survey small insects, along with touching descriptions of how... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
If (like me) you were ever curious about how animals survive winter in the North woods - then this is the book for you. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Thomas Obrien
After Heinrich's "A Winter in the Maine Woods", this is my favorite book. He explores the mysteries of how creatures survive during what we would consider a pretty harsh... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Easy Birder