Darryl Jones is fascinated by bird feeders. Not the containers supplying food to our winged friends, but the people who fill the containers.
Why do people do this? Jones asks in The Birds at My Table. Does the food even benefit the birds? What are the unintended consequences of providing additional food to our winged friends?
Jones takes us on a wild flight through the history of bird feeding. He pinpoints the highs and lows of the practice. And he ponders this odd but seriously popular form of interaction between humans and wild animals. Most important, he points out that we know very little about the impact of feeding birds despite millions of people doing it every day.
Unerringly, Jones digs at the deeper issues and questions, and he raises our awareness of the things we don’t yet know and why we really should. Using the latest scientific findings, The Birds at My Table takes a global swoop from 30,000 feet down to the backyard bird feeder and pushes our understanding of the many aspects of bird feeding back up to new heights.
"Readers expecting a user-friendly guide to backyard bird feeding will not find it here. This is a hard look at the practice that raises serious questions and suggests that the consequences of this commonplace and seemingly harmless and pleasant pastime need further investigation by the scientific community.... An intriguing book that is sure to ruffle the feathers of many nonscientist bird enthusiasts."
"[An] outstanding book. It is scholarly, meticulously researched, wide-ranging, and extremely thought-provoking. Jones's descriptions of his many visits to experts on wild bird feeding are especially entertaining; you feel you almost know the people he is interviewing and are on the journey with him! There are also some lovely little flashes of a dry, almost whimsical humour."
"Jones's passion shines through, and the book ultimately succeeds at making its main point: that bird feeding is more about humans than about birds."
Earth Island Journal
"An enjoyable and interesting read.... This book will interest many of those who are curious about wild birding feeding, and the broad range of topics discussed should result in even those most experienced with the subject coming away with new perspectives."
"An exceptional overview of both the science and art of intentional bird feeding throughout the world.... This book will be of interest to both naturalist and scientific audiences interested in the art and science of feeding birds. North American readers will get a refreshing and interesting global perspective on bird feeding.... Those who feed birds will come away with a renewed understanding and awareness of the role of supplementary feeding in the ecology of birds, and will look at feeding birds in a new and broader way."
The Canadian Field-Naturalist
"The Birds at My Table is a passionate discussion of the complex ways that bird feeding matters. The author has read every scientific study of bird feeding and visited bird feeders in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He brings his own interest in feeding birds to the table, too. The Birds at My Table is an impressively comprehensive study of why people feed birds and how birds are affected by this practice. This book will be a benchmark for those interested in the social history and ecological effects of bird feeding. Jones convincingly shows that bird feeding is a global practice with ethical implications."
Jeff Karnicky, author of Scarlet Experiment: Birds and Humans in America
"The Birds at My Table is a delightful and informative read by a keen naturalist and gifted scholar that will deepen your understanding of birds and why so many of us are compelled to feed them."
John M. Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife Science and author of Welcome to Subirdia