Finches

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This morning, I bought a copy of Jonathan Weiner's Pulitzer-prize winning The Beak of The Finch. I don't know when I'll get a chance to read it--I've got a half dozen books I'm now halfway through--but I got it because a few weeks ago I caught a fascinating nature special called Islands of The Vampire Birds. The birds in question are finches--you know, the cute little birds that you see in pet shops all the time (or, for that matter, hanging around the patios of Starbucks waiting for handouts); when I was a kid I called then "deeder birds," after the "deeder-deeder" sound they make. Well, these ones are not quite so cute: during an awful drought on the Galapagos Islands, these finches learn to drink blood--and even to peck at the flesh of other birds on the islands, to start them bleeding. It's an awesome, and slightly disturbing show about evolution in action right before your eyes, and if you can catch it, it's definitely worth watching. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available on tape or DVD. (If I'm wrong about this, I'm sure a helpful reader will let me know!)

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This is really cool, a historical archive of Los Angeles in the 1900s. Check out especially If you were living in L.A. a hundred years ago. The clip at right is from an L.A.Times article in 1905 about "Young Hollywood's green fields". I love it! [... Read More

2 Comments

You’ll love it.

I was serendipidously given a copy of The Beak of the Finch while re-reading Dennett’s classic Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Alternating between the two was excellent - the theory, and the actual fact. Beak of the Finch is a great read…

Ole

And after finishing that one, you should read Weiner’s Time, Love, Memory—I thought it was even better.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on March 28, 2004 1:25 PM.

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Evolving Complex Stuff: “Darwinian” Evolution and Irreducible Complexity is the next entry in this blog.

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