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Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature Hardcover – April 7, 2015
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“This amazing detective story by one of the country’s greatest field naturalists is also a fascinating study that solves many of the puzzles surrounding this most extraordinary bird.” ―David Attenborough
“My hope is that this reads like a nature detective story,' writes Davies. He has achieved his goal and more in this fascinating study of 'an evolutionary arms race.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This is highly literate, beautifully written natural history--where the big ideas presented (e.g., evolution, natural selection) will engage amateur and expert readers alike.” ―starred review, Library Journal
“Not only an absorbing account of a remarkable species but a love song to field biologists, that vanishing breed of scientists who, like the birds, do their work out of doors and connect our technological present to our earthbound past.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“For birding and evolution aficionados, Cuckoo is a lyrical and scientifically satisfying exploration of one of nature's most astonishing and beautiful adaptations.” ―Bird Booker Report
“Nick Davies, after three decades of studying cuckoos, brings us the answers in an understandable fashion.” ―The Washington Herald
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* writing is easy to follow for a tale that lays out the science of evolution as we can see it around us
* lots of insights into cuckoos and birds. Not just in Europe but also in Africa, Australia and the New World. I am interested in birds so I particularly enjoyed the book
* the best part is the insight into the scientific process. Through each chapter Ned Davies poses a question and assembles/conducts experiments that prove or disprove a hypothesis. This leads to the next question. So one gets to watch over the shoulder of a scientist at work for decades on a topic. Even if the reader doesn't care for birds, this is an insightful book into the scientific process.
environmental influences. Sadly, this bird is declining, probably due to environmental causes. The Common Cuckoo has an intimate relationship with the host species whose nest it parasatises. It is amazing to learn how the Common Cuckoo stalks its host and finds the right moment to visit the nest and lay its egg. It removes one egg of the host and eats it. The author has spent years quietly observing this species. He has worked with other scientists in the field and laboratory.
Top international reviews
So this year I googled cuckoo to see what I could find out - and came across this amazing book! Part history, part folklore part wonderful science and research, and all written so that its truths unfold almost like a novel.
The only answer I couldn't find was; 'how does the cuckoo know it's a cuckoo when it's been raised by a totally different species? How does it know it has to fly to the other side of the world?' (That's two questions!)
J W France
Good value for money too.