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By Alexander F. Skutch, Dana Gardner

Captivated whereas nonetheless younger by way of the attractiveness and large quantity of the tropics, Alexander Skutch, world-renowned ornithologist and writer of twelve books on tropical birds, resolved to dedicate his lifestyles to its learn and interpretation. For good over part a century, he has painstakingly saw the creatures that encompass him, relatively the birds, and he has inspiration lengthy and deeply - maybe greater than so much naturalists - in regards to the importance of this considerable lifestyles. during this reflective account of existence within the tropics, Skutch bargains readers either his observations and his interpretations of what he has skilled. He brings a considerate, unequaled voice to the outline of the realm he has grown to grasp and comprehend, a global thought of forbidding by means of such a lot northerners and nonetheless mostly unexplored.

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A blundering performance could be fatal to both the parent and its orphaned young, but I have never known a bird to be caught while acting as though crippled. A few years ago, a pair of White-tipped Doves nested at the edge of the dense tangle of a branching fern on the bank behind our house. The female permitted me to touch her lightly while she sat, as her more timid or distrustful mate never did. One evening in the twilight, I was alerted by a loud sound coming from the fern, as though the female, brooding her nestlings, were striking something with a wing.

In temperate-zone woodlands, composed of many individuals of few kinds of trees that in early spring are leafless or covered with thin needles like pines, wind pollination is effective but wasteful. In tropical evergreen forests composed of a great diversity of trees all mixed together, so that individuals of one Page 16 species may be separated by many other species in full leafage, wind pollination is so inefficient that it is rare. At least in the New World tropics, more trees depend upon wind to scatter winged or plumed seeds than to transfer their pollen, which is chiefly done by animals.

A Village in the Treetop 74 11. A Perennial Aspiration 85 12. The Oriole-Blackbird 94 13. A Difficult Choice 101 14. The Scaly-breasted Hummingbird 106 15. Our Animal Heritage 119 16. A Bird of Stormy Heights 127 17. Musings at Birds' Nests 142 18. Versatile Leaves 148 19. The Convivial Ascetic 156 20. A South American Marsh Bird 160 21. The Message of Birds 167 22. A Mockingbird in Blue 172 23. The Lonely Vanguard 181 24. The Elusive Queo 188 25. The Growth of Caring 192 26. The Smallest Tanagers 199 27.

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