“Birds Do It, Too”
By Noreen O’Brien, Purchasing, Marine Parts Express
For a really fun read, and one that will help you to keep your eyes forward and focused on spring, read “Birds Do It, Too: The Amazing Sex Life of Birds” by Kit and George Harrison (Willow Creek Press, 1997).
Kit Harrison, in her introduction, states that as unbelievable as some of the stories in the book may seem, every one of them is based on “documentation and observations by dedicated scientists.” She also acknowledges up front that the book is chockablock full of anthropomorphism—applying human traits to animals. She said the subject begged for it and “maybe a pinch of lighthearted morality, too.”
Indeed, some stories are downright shocking, in a rather funny way. Told with delicious humor and wit, “Birds Do It, Too” is filled with eye-opening details of the intimate sex lives of birds and their physiology, including how they do it, how long it lasts, how often and with whom. You’ll have to read the book for the details.
However, guess the topic of these chapters by their titles: “The Equipment”; “Super Studs and Bawdy Broads”; “Thrill Seekers: The Mile-High Club”; “Mr. Mom and the Emancipated Woman”; “Adultery I: ‘She Meant Nothing to Me. Honest!’”; “Will I Go Blind?”; and so on.
Tales of seduction, adultery, harems—both male and female—role reversal, even rape—I can’t help but wonder if birds would dilute the horror of rape by referring to it as “aggravated sexual assault” in their language. Birds “marry” for life, “divorce,” engage in prostitution or may mate with a leaf or a model of its species.
Courtship is a fascinating part of bird behavior, and, obviously, it is very much a part of this book. Stories of cranes performing a ballet—I’ve seen Demoiselle Cranes do their delicate ballet on the ice of Hovsgol Lake in northern Mongolia—and other pair-bonding behaviors are explored.
For those who have seen the blue bird of paradise from New Guinea shown on the fabulous “Planet Earth” series on the Discovery Channel, more details on this species is a part of Harrison’s book.
Harrison’s husband, George, was the editor and art director of “Birds Do It, Too,” while Michael James Riddet created the very lovely black and white illustrations. The one negative comment: the book lacks an index—no nonfiction book should be printed without a proper index. The bibliography is a good one.
The Harrisons have written numerous books on natural history—every one of them worth the read. However, none will be quite like “Birds Do It, Too,” and it is particularly appropriate to read this book now, this early in the spring, so you will know what to look for when the birds arrive and get busy with their often amusing and always fascinating antics.
Till next …
Comments? Questions? Suggestions for topics for our blog or newsletter? Send them to
Marine Parts Express is a division of Water Resources, Inc., a privately held Maine Corporation.
For all your marine engine parts needs, call us toll free at 877.621.2628, or outside the U.S. at 207.882.6165.
March 30, 2011 / Noreen O'Brien / 0
- Things I Found While Looking For Something Else – Part VI
- Re-Introducing the OneList
- Winterization Guide
- Labor Day Sale 2016
- Memorial Day Sale 2016
- Turbocharger Damage Prevention Bulletin
- The Art of Quilling
- Winter – Maine Style
- XDP Upgrade Promotion – Extended!!! (through 12/31/14
- Lubricants, Oils, Sealants, and Adhesives – Discussion and Cross-Reference
bird feet configuration
maine hunting camp
Margaret Graham Neeeson
Margaret Graham Neeson
Marine Parts Express