A guide that will change perpetually the best way you consider birds

PORTLAND, Maine – For anyone who loves to read, there are few better experiences than total loss and fun in a fun book. This is a pleasure awaiting the reader who opens the “What It’s Like to Be a Bird,” a recent book by David Sibley, the most famous bird writer and artist in America.

Almost every page has fun and enlightenment and sometimes cognitive ideas, such as the subject matter, what the birds are doing and why.

Consider what Sibley tells us about the few species found in Maine. Did you know, for example, that loons need a long distance of open water to fly? “They can be caught,” Sibley writes, “when they get to a very small pool.” In the water, loons and washing machines. “They can stay in the water for 15 minutes, and walk more than two hundred.”

What about cormorants? Did you know that they are “the world’s fastest-moving animals, catching more fish, almost, than any other animal”?

And don’t you often enjoy pigeons? You may think of them when you realize that, with their magnificent maritime skills, “they can return home from about 2,500 miles.”

I could go on and on – did you know that Peregrine birds can exceed 240 miles per hour? – but leave me alone and bring Sibley. Look back at our conversations with him and you, too, will have a new appreciation for what birds are like.

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