Far from Land: The Mysterious Life of Seabirds

Far from Land: The Mysterious Life of Seabirds

Seabirds evoke the spirit of the earth's wildest places. They spend large portions of their lives at sea, often far from land, and nest on beautiful and remote islands that humans rarely visit. Thanks to the development of increasingly sophisticated and miniaturized devices that can track their every movement and behavior, it is now possible to observe the mysterious lives...

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Title:Far from Land: The Mysterious Life of Seabirds
Author:Michael Brooke
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Far from Land: The Mysterious Life of Seabirds Reviews

  • Greg

    * I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review a pre-publication version of this book. *

    Ornithologist Michael Brooke has put together a very readable and highly interesting book about the behavioural habits of seabirds. This has been, until quite recently, a difficult area for researchers. Given how remote seabirds are from researchers most of the time, there has been a fair amount of intuition and guesswork underlying much of the research.

    Brooke start

    * I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review a pre-publication version of this book. *

    Ornithologist Michael Brooke has put together a very readable and highly interesting book about the behavioural habits of seabirds. This has been, until quite recently, a difficult area for researchers. Given how remote seabirds are from researchers most of the time, there has been a fair amount of intuition and guesswork underlying much of the research.

    Brooke starts with a rundown of the technology breakthroughs that have allowed ornithologists to conduct much more comprehensive research than the simple tagging programs of the past.

    "Not only can trans-oceanic flights be tracked with startling accuracy, it is also possible to tell, to within metres, where a breeding seabird is, whether it is flying or swimming, whether it is at the surface or underwater. If it is underwater, is its dive shallow or deep? It is possible to monitor the bird's heartbeat, and when it gulps down food".

    Brooke canvasses the research that these technologies have enabled, going into breeding patterns, migrations, how and when birds feed, parental behaviour and much more. The picture that these new technologies allow researchers to draw is both interesting and, occasionally, jaw-dropping. Brooke mentions a shearwater that flew from Wales to Brazil in 16 days. Emperor penguins that can dive to a depth of 500 metres or more. Albatrosses that can scent food from 6 miles away. And much more.

    The book is beautifully illustrated with many photo-realistic drawings of the seabirds being discussed. For a bird lover such as myself this book is a real treat.

  • Amy

    NF-Science

    209 pages

    The remarkable discoveries of what seabirds do.

    Where they go. What they eat, how far they fly, the

    depths of their dives etc.. Seabirds are amazing!

  • J H

    If you are interested in the mysterious world of seabirds, this book is very detailed and tells us much more than most people know. I found it fascinating, though not the easiest book to read. But it added greatly to my understanding, and for that, it is a 'must read'.

  • Roger Bailey

    Looked interesting but read like a text book.

  • Nostalgia Reader

    DNF at about 15%.

    I love birds, and the tagline of this--"The Mysterious Life of Seabirds"--sounded right up my alley. However, I just wasn't able to get into the subject. It's not that I'm not interested in it, it's just the way it was written seemed too haphazard to me. it constantly jumped from talking about one species of bird to another and then another all within a two page span. While I understood the set-up of the chapters, it didn't jive with the way my brain comprehends this type of inf

    DNF at about 15%.

    I love birds, and the tagline of this--"The Mysterious Life of Seabirds"--sounded right up my alley. However, I just wasn't able to get into the subject. It's not that I'm not interested in it, it's just the way it was written seemed too haphazard to me. it constantly jumped from talking about one species of bird to another and then another all within a two page span. While I understood the set-up of the chapters, it didn't jive with the way my brain comprehends this type of info.

    This is not to say this is a bad book--it just didn't work for me, personally. If you are a more number and/or tech oriented birder, then definitely give this one a try!

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!

    (Cross posted on

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