Cover image for The American crow and the common raven
Title:
The American crow and the common raven
Author:
Kilham, Lawrence, 1910-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
College Station : Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

©1989
Physical Description:
xiv, 255 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780890963777
Format :
Book

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QL696.P2367 K55 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Lawrence Kilham was a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, professor of microbiology emeritus of Dartmouth Medical School, and a distinguished virologist. He passed away in 2000. "This definitive study is a gem for both American birders and serious ornithologists." --The Indianapolis News " . . . remarkable behaviors are reviewed and discussed with a rich assortment of anecdotes from the author's 8,000 hours of field observations. . . . This book explains especially the social systems of these birds, from cooperative breeding to predator mobbing. Difficult topics such as 'play' and 'thinking' in crows are interestingly and critically presented. . . . an appealing volume." --Choice " . . . his book is one of the best, most informative and engaging ones yet written about how some of these birds live, think, and feel. Kilham on crows compares favorably with Tinbergen on gulls, Goodall on chimpanzees, and Lorenz on dogs and jackdaws." --Smithsonian "The book has style and is outstanding in many ways. . . . His method is remarkable: He refuses to intervene and does not even mark individual birds. His intensive observation of birds used to the observer, however, allow him to follow the behavior and fate of particular individuals carefully. --Journal f r Ornithologie "His interpretations and descriptions are also remarkable. --Journal f r Ornithologie . . . Study of the text promises to be profitable because the author is well-read and displays an outstanding style. Enjoyment of his book is enhanced by its makeup with generous layout and black-and-white pictures. . . . The book could be an incentive for European scientists to re-examine the social systems of crows and other corvids, keeping in mind different conditions of habitat and interpreting results in the light of evolutionary-biological hypotheses. Kilham himself takes an initial step in this regard in a special summarizing chapter." --Journal f r Ornithologie "Kilham's independent and somewhat unorthodox approach to research has particular value to amateur birders . . . The many citations in the text and an extensive list of references suggest Kilham has much confidence in his opinions and the 'chance observation' facts he reports. Readers will be motivated to rethink some conventional wisdom on how best to pursue studies of animal behavior. His research activities should inspire other retirees." --Jack DeForest "Kilham's work is a testament to the importance of amateurs to ornithology. . . . Amateurs will certainly enjoy his stories of interesting behaviors and exploits with pet corvids. The illustrations are wonderful and Kilham's insights into crow and raven sociality are important." --Auk "If you are interested in bird behaviour, you will enjoy reading this book. Joan Waltermire's sketches nicely complement the text." --C. Stuart Houston "This is a well-written, thoughtful, beautifully illustrated book that was a joy to read. . . . Kilham is to be congratulated for providing us with a greater level of insight into crows and ravens (particularly the former) than we previously had." --Quarterly Review of Biology " . . . simple, clear descriptive prose, a pleasure to read and fullof fascinating details of American crow and raven life. . . . This should be a prime book for collectors . . . beautifully illustrated in dramatic pen-and-ink drawings that even convey the glossiness of crows' and ravens' plumage." --Books about Birds " . . . an unusually detailed and sometimes inspiring account of the lives of the American Crow Corvus brachhrhrnchos and the Raven C. corax." --British Birds


Reviews 1

Choice Review

The American crow and the common raven are among the most intelligent species of birds in the world. Their remarkable behaviors are reviewed and discussed with a rich assortment of ancedotes from the author's 8,000 hours of field observations. Lawrence Kilham, whose profession is medicine, is a distinguished ornithologist by avocation, with many publications on avian behavior (mostly about woodpeckers and crows). This book, explains especially, the social systems of these birds, from cooperative breeding to predator mobbing. Difficult topics such as "play" and "thinking" in crows are interestingly and critically presented. The style is readable, yet the quality is very professional and up to date on ecological and behavioral themes. Attractive black-and-white drawings illustrate the text; physically this is an appealing volume except for excessively large outer margins. As a valuable contribution to the field of bird behavior it is recommended for undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to its wider popular audience. -C. Leck, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey