I have been an avid birdwatcher for years and I am always on the lookout for new and interesting bird books in the library’s collection, so I was excited to see this on the library’s new book shelf.
This book is unique in that it shows what happens when real birds get angry.
Birds are grouped into four levels of angry behavior: annoyed, testy, outraged and furious. Each level presents snapshots of a wide variety of birds, which include a photo of the bird, a helpful “rap sheet” of useful facts about the bird that includes its species, physical description, known whereabouts, aliases, and a very brief description of its angry behaviors along with a one-page summary of the bird and its angry behavior.
I found a few of these birds and their behaviors to be quite common, like the Northern Cardinal fighting its reflection in a car window. But most were new to me and I think they will be new to most readers here in the United States. I especially enjoyed reading about the following birds.
The Fieldfare is one of the annoyed birds. It is a medium-sized songbird from Europe that groups together for protection—when a larger bird like a raven encroaches on their territory, the alarm call is given, and a flock of fieldfares will mob the intruder and shower it with a burst of their collective poop. This is not just nasty but can prevent the intruder from flying and staying warm, and can even lead to death.
The Masked Lapwing is a testy bird that looks like a character from a Stars Wars movie. It likes to hang out in open spaces like golf courses and playgrounds. It screams at any people who get too close, and it will not hesitate to use the sharp spurs on it wings, which like a pocket knife can inflict painful wounds on any intruders.
My favorite bird is the Northern Fulmar, an outraged bird from the Arctic regions that protects itself in a unique way, by vomiting a noxious stomach oil onto its predators (or victims). This particularly nasty oil, which is based on their diet of seafood that includes fish and shrimp, can cause death to other birds and some rodents, but can also be used as an emergency source of nourishment for the Fulmar if the bird is unable to hunt for food. I think the photo of a baby Northern Fulmar engaging in this behavior is particularly amusing.
Interspersed among the snapshots of these real angry birds are two other features. The first is a series of short feathered facts about birds getting angry and taking action. The second feature is a description of several of the major birds from the mega-hit Angry Birds game, including Terence, Chuck, Matilda and Red. Each bird gets a background story, a description of what makes them mad and a rap sheet much like the real angry birds, all of which can help you better appreciate the game.
This book would definitely appeal to younger readers with the tie-in to the popular Angry Birds game. But the interesting stories, high-quality photographs, and well-organized content make this a must-read for anyone interested in birds. Highly recommended.
Check the WRL catalog for Angry Birds