Cranes are enigmatic birds. Only very little is known about the behaviour of these graceful dancers. The renowned naturalist and crane expert Bernhard Wessling takes us on exciting and adventurous expeditions into their hidden world and gets to the bottom of the myths surrounding these birds of happiness. With the help of a specially developed bioacoustic method, Dr. Wessling studied Eurasian, Red-Crowned, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes, all in the wild. He has researched their intelligence, social dynamics and communication and engaged in their protection. Impressively illustrated and lively narrated, this book presents his findings on their individually unique lives and relationships, their ability to adapt and solve problems, and their emotions. His observations allow us to delve deeply into the cranes' way of life and consciousness, often demonstrating the surprising similarities between humans and animals. An amazing work about the spirit of discovery, humility and respect for nature in the tradition of Alexander von Humboldt. Cranes are among the most captivating birds on this planet. Dr. Wessling knows these birds, has accumulated a lifetime of observations on them, and has thought deeply about their abilities. In this book, he seeks to overturn old ideas about how these birds live, communicate, and think. His revelations surprise and delight and shed new light on an ancient avian family.Jennifer Ackerman, author of the New York Times bestseller The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way The Call of the Cranes is a mesmerizing, vivid, lyrical and revelatory book. It truly is a spectacular book and a treasure!Sy Montgomery, naturalist and author of 31 books (incl. the New York Times bestseller The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness) In this book, Bernhard Wessling shares his fascinating stories about cranes through patient observations and thoughtful conclusions. George Archibald, Co-Founder of the International Crane Foundation, Senior Conservationist
The Call of the Cranes: Expeditions into a Mysterious World
Preface(the author's way to nature and a preview into the book)Chapter 1: How everything started(a coincidental encounter with cranes and with the new crane protection group; first observations)Chapter 2: Compact crane knowledge: myths and facts(a little bit of basic knowledge about cranes and about the role of cranes in mythology, in very short form)Chapter 3: Problem solutions, ballet courtship and fox alarm: how do cranes communicate with each other?(surprising observations about how cranes are solving problems and how they communicate)Chapter 4: Arrival in the nature preserve after return from wintering grounds: alone or in groups?(unique experiences how cranes return from wintering into the breeding area: nobody has ever observed or expected it to be like this)Chapter 5: Breeding season: a tragic romance(a brood destroyed, a female crane missing, her partner in mourning)Chapter 6: Ruff, a white-tailed eagle and other visitors to the nature preserve: crane guards' amazing experiences(completely different and interesting experiences during serving as crane guards for a whole week)Chapter 7: The school of life(crane "kids" also have to study; one of the courses is learning to fly; the author describes the process in the flight school)Chapter 8: Tracking the cranes' language: they are calling and talk about their lives(the author gets the idea to record crane calls and analyze their voices; he develops a suitable method and so gets to know the cranes much deeper)Chapter 9: Worldwide endeavors: Asian and American cranes are calling me(the crane research project becomes international: the author is called to introduce his method worldwide)Chapter 10: Research adventures: overhear red-crowned cranes at minus 25 °C while guarded by armed border soldiers(exciting expeditions to the red-crowned cranes on Hokkaido island of Japan, and in the demilitarized zone within sight of the border to North Korea)Chapter 11: The adventure continues: visiting the wild whooping cranes(even more adventurous expeditions to North America for doing research on wild whooping cranes, the author is asked to contribute to a very complex species recovery project)Chapter 12: We are taking off: the hard way to the migration flight school(world premiere: young cranes raised in isolation learn to fly and to use the old migration route from the North to the South of the U.S., and become 100% wild)Chapter 13: What can we learn about intelligence, migratory behaviour, culture development, use of tools and self-awareness in cranes?(further research on the behaviour and abilities of cranes)Chapter 14: Can cranes think strategically? Other amazing observations(the cognitive performance of cranes is higher than previously thought; the author describes evidence of "episodic memory" and strategically planned problem solving)Chapter 15: Cranes are subjects. A plea for more modesty and respect for nature.(manifold practical consequences for nature and species conservation)In a detailed appendix, readers will find, among other things, a discussion of the emotions that cranes possess (or those that cranes probably do not possess), further observations of cranes, especially from abroad, a more detailed description of the nature reserves in and near Hamburg, where Wessling began his crane conservation work and research, and in a final chapter of the appendix new observations (Wessling recently started again with call recordings and their analysis) and practical advice for readers who would like to record and analyse bird calls themselves. In addition, there are 144 notes with references to further literature as well as links to information, further photos, videos and some typical call recordings he had made on the Internet.