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What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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Jon Young has published another superb title "What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World." Throughout time animal alarms have been used by hunters and military personnel to cue them into the environment and/or to "alarm" them to the presence of a predator or enemy. During this time hunters and soldiers that employed this technique may have not known that they were using an elaborate communications system that today is now and art and science. And they may have not even known that they under stood some of this "foreign" language. What Jon Young has done is put this language in an easy to understand how-to format, essentially providing anybody the opportunity to learn this language if they so desire. I personally learned bird language a few years back to use operationally on combat operations. In doing so, I picked specific species of birds and animals to study and learn, that were common across my area of operation. I am by no means an expert at bird language but used it operationally successfully in locations specific to me in areas in Africa, Malaya and Borneo. I also can take the same principles and with time apply them to my new operational areas as needed. This is because even though birds have different songs/calls, bird language is essentially the same the world over and is understood intuitively by many species of animals, which ultimately leads to the concentric rings that are made by disturbances to the baseline of the area you are operating in. The disturbances could be predators in the area or enemy personnel.Read more ›
But I am only giving it three stars because I have never read a book that had so many issues with mechanics. Jon Young uses too many parenthetical asides (like this, but much longer), and I found that extremely distracting. I don't know whether to blame him or his editor. I understand the references to his audio clips, but 90 percent of his asides could have been re-worded to become normal sentences. Another 10 percent could have been eliminated all together. Some asides are so long they could be entire paragraphs. The net effect is that I, as a reader, never quite knew what was the most important part of the paragraph or chapter. Was it the main text, or the many asides, or the side story he just decided to break in and tell?
The asides, combined with very long paragraphs, just prevented the book from flowing for me. I'm an electrical engineer, so it's not like I'm an English major or something. But I have read many fiction and non-fiction books, and to me the sign of a well-edited book is that I don't notice the editing -- and I can focus on the content.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read have read every Tom Brown Jr. book. After this book, I learned even more. Congrat's to the author.
Invisibility (being unobserved) is a great gift/skill. Read more
It's a hard and boring read. It could have provided the same info in 1/4 of the words. Sorry, Jon.Published 14 days ago by Jim R
Wonderful insight into the natural world. Very glad I bought the Kindle edition, so I could hear the songs and calls being described. Read morePublished 24 days ago by B. Sawyer
This is fascinating. It combines things we already sense with the wisdom of how to notice even more of the phenomena in nature. I'd highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by Julia S
I am an avid wildlife and nature enthusiast but this book has taken me a step deeper into observing, listening and seeing what is happening around me whether I am in my "sit... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lori Robinson
Not totally done reading it yet but so far it's been really interesting. I pay a lot more attention to the bird songs I hear.Published 3 months ago by maggie