Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich | Book Review
Updated: Mar 28, 2021
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Readers will follow Bernd Heinrich as he performs various studies to better understand the behavior of ravens. Each chapter is set to undertake a different angle of study. For every experiment performed, there is information on the tools used and different theories that were presented throughout the experiments.
Taking a look into the life of a biologist was enlightening and I guarantee I would not be able to make it in their world. Bernd Heinrich encounters all manner of environments when studying ravens. There are moments he was required to build blinds out in the middle of the wilderness and endure freezing temperatures to continue his studies. At one point he even has to spend hours locating ravens with a handheld transmitting device that is less than accurate. Crashing through uncharted woods for the sake of science is not my cup of tea, but I applaud the people who are committed to doing things like this to better our understanding of animals.
I will admit that this book was dry at times. I am sure that a reader who has studied biology would appreciate the detail given to the theories and experiments, but I found myself losing interest. This book was written for the most part in an unbiased view, and it was lacking the emotion I’ve read in other books on animal studies.
The stories that captivated me were the ones about tame ravens. Bernd Heinrich made a point to meet ravens that were rescues bonded to human families. It was interesting to read about the comparisons he made to ravens in the wild, and his own ravens he kept for observation. So many behaviors ravens learn are tempered by their environment and learned interactions. They are adaptable and highly intelligent birds.
I do recommend this book to more science-minded people. I think those of us that read it for the sheer fact they want to learn more about ravens might find it a bit slow and tedious as I did.
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