The Birds At My Table: Why we feed wild birds and why it matters
Darryl Jones is fascinated by bird feeders. Not the containers supplying food to our winged friends, but the people who fill the containers, scatter the crumbs or seeds, or leave the picnic scraps behind for the birds. Here, Jones takes us on a wild flight through the history of bird feeding as he ponders this odd but seriously popular form of interaction between humans and wild animals. Jones digs at the deeper issues and questions of the practice of bird feeding, as he raises our awareness of the things we don't yet know and why we really should. This beautifully written and engaging books reveals that what at first seems to be a niche topic - humans feeding wild birds - is in fact something a disproportionate number of us do. Half the citizens of Australia, the UK, and the US feed birds, whether its by planting trees that attract them, putting food out on apartment balconies, setting up birds baths and feeders, or by unwittingly leaving scraps behind in parks. The international bird seed industry is huge and most of the seed is gown in India or Africa. Another way of describing all this activity is as an unplanned ecological experiment on an unbelievably large scale. In The Birds at My Table, Jones draws on an impressive knowledge of the latest scientific findings as well as his own personal knowledge, to reflect and explain the modern practice of bird feeding.
Darryl Jones (PhD, Griffith University) is Professor and Deputy Director of the Environmental Futures Research Centre at Griffith University (Australia). He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and seven books, including Megapodes and Mound-builders.