I’m a big fan of Sy Montgomery. I’ve enjoyed several of her previous books, including Walking with the Great Apes, Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Search for the Golden Moon Bear, and The Good Good Pig. Recently, I picked up Birdology from the library after hearing Sy interviewed on a podcast. I really admire birds, especially corvids and parrots, so I was eager to hear her perspective. Sy has such a fascinating way of drawing us into the unexpected aspects of birds – from those we would assume to be the most ordinary – Chickens (“Birds Are Individuals”), to those that are odd and dangerous – Cassowaries (“Birds Are Dinosaurs”), to those small dynamic blurs – Hummingbirds (“Birds Are Made of Air”).
I remember studying zoology a few years back and reading about Archaeopteryx and I remember learning that birds are actually reptiles. But what struck me last night was that Birds Are Dinosaurs. They are ACTUALLY DINOSAURS. Not in theory, not related to dinosaurs, not just reptiles; they are the descendants of the dinosaurs that we were taught as children had gone extinct! I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying enough attention in zoology or if scientific theory has advanced in this area since 2001, but something about the way that Sy explains it in Birdology makes it very clear: “Today few serious paleontologists question that birds arose from dinosaurs. Increasingly they agree on an even more surprising conclusion: that birds, rather than meriting a separate class, Aves, in the scientific organization of life, should be classed in Reptilia, within the Dinosauria, as the very successful surviving dromaeosaurs.”
No wonder I can’t understand what in the heck is going on with my parrot when she screeches intermittently for days on end. She’s not even the species I thought she was. Apparently, I ‘m living with a Pterodactyl. My mind is blown.