Virtual Event: Wenfei Tong at Science on TapUnderstanding Bird Behavior

In this special avian Science on Tap, biologist and author Dr. Wenfei Tong will describe scientific research and fascinating vignettes about the private lives of birds, from finding food and family life, to coping with climate and other threats. Drawing from her two books Understanding Bird Behavior: An Illustrated Guide to What Birds Do and Why and Bird Love: The Family Life of Birds, she will share detailed images of all kinds of bird behavior. Also, learn how you as a citizen scientist can help add to what we know about birds in your part of the world.

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About the Book

Birds are intelligent, sociable creatures that exhibit a wide array of behaviors—from mobbing and mimicking to mating and joint nesting. Why do they behave as they do? Bringing to light the remarkable actions of birds through examples from species around the world, Understanding Bird Behavior presents engaging vignettes about the private lives of birds, all explained in an evolutionary context.

We discover how birds find food, relying on foraging techniques, tools, and thievery. We learn about the courtship rituals through which birds choose, compete for, woo, and win mates; the familial conflicts that crop up among parents, offspring, and siblings; and the stresses and strains of nesting, including territory defense, nepotism, and relationship sabotage. We see how birds respond to threats and danger—through such unique practices as murmurations, specific alarm calls, distraction displays, and antipredator nest design. We also read about how birds change certain behaviors—preening, migration, breeding, and huddling—based on climate. Richly illustrated, this book explores the increasing focus on how individual birds differ in personality and how big data and citizen scientists are helping to add to what we know about them.

Drawing on classic examples and the latest research, Understanding Bird Behavior offers a close-up look at the many ways birds conduct themselves in the wild.

  • Compelling insights into bird behavior
  • Classic examples and the latest research, including work by citizen scientists
  • Fascinating vignettes about the private lives of birds, from finding food and family life, to coping with climate and other threats
  • 150 detailed color illustrations and photographs

Wenfei Tong is a biologist, conservationist, and nature guide. She is associate editor at Nature Communications and owner of Big Sky Safaris. She is the author of Bird Love: The Family Life of Birds (Princeton).