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Where Song Began  : Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World - Tim Low

Where Song Began

Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

By: Tim Low

Paperback

Published: 25th June 2014
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5 to 9 business days
RRP $32.99
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Published: 25th June 2014
Format: ePUB
$16.99

Tim Low, award-winning author of Feral Future, in an eye-opening book on the unique nature of Australian birds and their role in ecology and global evolution.

Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and are long-lived. They're also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds.

But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin's time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world's scientists until 2004 – because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, few Australians are aware of the ramifications, something which prompted the writing of this book.

Tim Low has a rare gift for illuminating complex ideas in highly readable prose, and making of the whole a dynamic story. Here he brilliantly explains how our birds came to be so extraordinary, including the large role played by the foods they consume (birds, too, are what they eat), and by our climate, soil, fire, and Australia's legacy as a part of Gondwana. The story of its birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of Australia itself, and one that continues to unfold, so much having changed in the last decade about what we know of our ancient past. Where Song Began also shines a light on New Guinea as a biological region of Australia, as much a part of the continent as Tasmania. This is a work that goes far beyond the birds themselves to explore the relationships between Australia's birds and its people, and the ways in which scientific prejudice have hindered our understanding.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

You don't have to be a twitcher to enjoy this book which opens with a fascinating theory: Australian birds sound different because of what they eat! Apparently they are on a sugar high, because there is more nectar available to them from native flora than to other birds elsewhere. While our marsupials continue to capture the world's attention (Prince George and the Bilby, Gary Shteyngart's urgent desire to pat a wombat on his recent author tour), our birds are every bit as unique and get far less attention than they deserve. Many smaller species are threatened as suburbia encroaches on habitat. This accessible, entertaining and compelling portrait of our avian ecosystem makes for essential reading for bushwalkers, gardeners, and nature lovers.

About the Author

Tim Low is highly regarded as a biologist and writer. He is the prize-winning author of Feral Future, The New Nature, and Wild Food Plants of Australia.

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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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4.7

(based on 11 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Informative (11)
  • Well written (9)
  • Deserves multiple readings (8)
  • Easy to read (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (8)
  • Reference (7)
  • Older readers (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (5), Bookworm (4)

Reviewed by 11 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Worthwhile

By 

from Wodonga

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Informative

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Older Readers

    Subject of Birds is usually pretty boring but Tim Low's pros make it a very worthwhile read.

     
    5.0

    FASCINATING

    By 

    from Perth

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Read
    • Informative
    • Well Written
    • Written so a lay person can understand easily

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • for my elderly mother who loves birds & history
      • Gift

      Review written for my 96 yo mother who loves history and science - She states she had no idea about the origins of the many unique species of bird in Australia. She feels it is easy for a non-scientist to understand.

       
      5.0

      Fascinating

      By 

      from Sydney

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Read
      • Informative
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Reference

        Informative, well researched and fully referenced. A truly fascinating account of Australia's bird life and the continent's contribution to this group of animals. It is a book very much about ecology and not at all dull. It really highlights the inter-disconnectedness of the land, plants and animals.

         
        5.0

        This book is a 'must have' for bird and nature lovers

        By 

        from St Ives, NSW Australia

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings
        • Easy To Read
        • Informative
        • Page-Turner
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Reference

          This book is the best I've read about the history and life of song birds/

           
          5.0

          Not just for bird lovers

          By 

          from SE NSW

          About Me Bookworm

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Easy To Read
          • Informative
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Special Needs
            • Travel Reading
            • Younger Readers

            The breadth of this work is matched by the knowledge of its author and his expertise. For lovers of natural history and the relationship birds have with our unique environment

             
            4.0

            A great book

            By 

            from brisbane qld

            About Me Everyday Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deserves Multiple Readings
            • Easy To Read
            • Informative
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Older Readers

              Used for anthropology research and for a better understanding our local bird environment

               
              5.0

              Outstanding Read

              By 

              from Melbourne

              About Me Everyday Reader

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Deserves Multiple Readings
              • Easy To Read
              • Informative
              • Page-Turner
              • Well Written
              • Written With Great Author

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • Reference

                Written with great authority
                Excellent index
                Can be put down and picked up anywhere
                Very readable as a reference book

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                A Word For Our Birds.

                By 

                from N.S.W.

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Easy To Read
                • Extremely Interesting
                • Informative
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Reference

                  Prompt service but I dislike the oversized (for many books) stiff, awkward to hold and open packaging. I enjoy the ease of shopping.

                   
                  4.0

                  Storyteller's guide to Aussie birds

                  By 

                  from Country N.S.W.

                  About Me Bookworm

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Engaging characters
                  • Informative
                  • So Much Fascinating Info

                  Cons

                  • Needs A Good Edit

                  Best Uses

                  • Aust West Papua Png
                  • Gift
                  • Travel Reading

                  It is the sort of book to be read slowly and absorbed. You can then share the bits of information that your have gleaned in a format that is easily remembered. Many of the insights are astounding and based on recent research especially DNA analysis.

                   
                  5.0

                  A Seminal Bokk About Birds

                  By 

                  from Brisbane, AU

                  About Me Everyday Reader

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Deserves Multiple Readings
                  • Easy To Read
                  • Informative
                  • Well Written

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Gift
                    • Older Readers
                    • Reference

                    Enlightening the way the author puts birds in their total context of evolutionary origin, world expansion and geographical range, relationship with flora and other fauna, use of colour, and development and use of song.
                    Not a 'bird book' of the 'what's that bird' genre.

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                    ISBN: 9780670077960
                    ISBN-10: 0670077968
                    Audience: General
                    Format: Paperback
                    Language: English
                    Number Of Pages: 416
                    Published: 25th June 2014
                    Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
                    Country of Publication: AU
                    Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.9  x 3.4
                    Weight (kg): 0.55