In her comprehensive and carefully crafted book, Gisela Kaplan demonstrates how intelligent and emotional Australian birds can be. She describes complex behaviours such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels. The author brings together evidence of many such cognitive abilities, suggesting plausible reasons for their appearance in Australian birds. Bird Minds is the first attempt to shine a critical and scientific light on the cognitive behaviour of Australian land birds. In this fascinating volume, the author also presents recent changes in our understanding of the avian brain and links these to life histories and longevity. Following on from Gisela's well-received books, Australian Magpie and Tawny Frogmouth, as well as two earlier titles on birds, Bird Minds contends that the unique and often difficult conditions of Australia's environment have been crucial for the evolution of unusual complexities in avian cognition and behaviour. This book is written for a general audience, especially amateur ornithologists and naturalists but it will equally appeal to specialists in bird behaviour and students working in biology, comparative psychology, cognitive ecology, field ornithology, zoology, aviculture and animal welfare. It will also be of interests to veterinarians, zoo personnel, bird lovers and members of other groups concerned with birds. Recipient of a 2016 Whitley Award commendation for Behavioural Zoology
Gisela Kaplan is a Professor at the University of New England, and an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. She is the author of over 250 research articles and 21 books and has conducted groundbreaking research into vocal learning, communication and cognition in birds and other vertebrates. She holds two PhDs and an honorary DSc for her contributions to life sciences. In addition to extensive research on birds in the wild, for the past two decades she has also raised and rehabilitated injured native birds.