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Your Backyard Birds

Understanding the behaviours, habits and needs of our brilliant birds

Grainne Cleary



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Allen & Unwin
04 March 2019
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Most of us have bird stories. Maybe the butcherbird or kookaburra who comes looking for food daily, the magpie who brings its babies to show off, the rainbow lorikeets that crowd the balcony railings, the white cockatoo who pulls strips off the windowframes… This book examines the avian-human interactions and the social complexity of Australian birds, and what benefits they may be gaining by their proximity to people. Whilst chapter headings sometimes indicate emotions ("The Friendly Bird" or "The Cheating Bird" or "The Grieving Bird") the book does not anthropomorphise birds. Rather it allows that they have many qualities that we can label with what we think of as human terms, but which are qualities that many animals share with us. An interesting blend of science and anecdote, interleaving research and factual text with close observations by citizen scientists, who contribute to the sum of knowledge with their everyday interactions with birds. Lindy Jones


A beautiful, inspiring and heartwarming book about our human relationships with the birds who share our backyards.

'Do you ever wonder what birds are talking about as they fly by you? The sounds and songs of birds constantly surround us as we go about our lives. But what are they talking about? Or are they even talking or just mindlessly squawking and chirping? Why are so many urban birds so loud? Is there a message in what the birds are telling each other?' Observing and interacting with all the different birds who visit Australian backyards leads naturally to questions about their behaviours, habits and needs. Why are they visiting? What do they want from us?

For a bird, life in Australia means having mates: others who you can trust and work with to locate food and water, which can disappear as suddenly as it appears. As the humans who plant the gardens they live in and visit, what can we learn from Australia's often-cheeky birds?

With a foreword by science journalist and broadcaster Robyn Williams AM, and chapters dedicated to discovering extraordinary information about Australia's innovative birds, Your Backyard Birds is a delightful and compelling read. With real stories from bird-loving citizen scientists, this fascinating book features new insights about the lives of our avian friends.

Your Backyard Birds, written by a wildlife ecologist who is passionate about the vital role of citizen scientists, provides a fresh and lively perspective on human interaction with birds.
By:   Grainne Cleary
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   358g
ISBN:   9781760297350
ISBN 10:   1760297356
Pages:   260
Publication Date:   04 March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Dr Grainne Cleary is an Irish wildlife ecologist who now lives in Melbourne and works at Deakin University. Her primary area of interest is working with the public through citizen science to gain the best outcomes for urban wildlife, particularly in how people interact with birds in their backyards. She believes our behaviour can have a huge influence on urban wildlife and how native animals can use our gardens as a sanctuary in otherwise inhospitable environments.

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