Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Homing Instinct by Bernd Heinrich

The Homing Instinct: Meaning & Mystery in Animal Migration, Bernd Heinrich. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. e-book, 297 pps.

     I was delighted to discover that Bernd Heinrich hunts deer. We have far too many deer-- more than our ecological landscape can support-- and those who hunt [and use what they hunt] are doing evolution a favor by culling the herd. Most folks in Maine are either starving or they hunt and that's the way of it.

     The Homing Instinct is a fascinating book. I read it all at once on a night waiting for a snowstorm that didn't come. There are all kinds of nifty things in it-- and all of it is field observations backed up by laboratory research. I found that whether animals pass on their migratory routes to their offspring or the offspring are driven by instinct makes a difference, that we had one native locust in the United States [related to the grasshopper but not the same as the grasshopper] which went extinct but via climate change and glacial melt, many corpses of said locust were found and scientists did DNA stuff on them, that some communal nesting arrangements allow for an extra species of bird to fill in the spaces and stuff like that. Stuff I like as an avid birder and nature child.

sapphoq reviews says: Bernd Heinrich continues his personable but scientific expository style in The Homing Instinct. Highly recommended.

No comments: