Birds and Flowers
An Intimate 50 Million Year Relationship
- Shows the true significance of birds as pollinators.
- Offers examples from all around the world.
- Debunks myths, reveals little-known truths and offers ingenious new perspectives.
- Coming Soon
Most people are familiar with hummingbirds and the balletic ways in which they feed on flowers. But did you know that these kinds of relationships first evolved at least 50 million years ago? And that nowadays at least 64 families of birds include species that act as pollinators, for tens of thousands of different plants? Not only of great ecological significance, such interactions have been the inspiration for art and literature, for stories about gods and warriors, and for branding guitars and even cheese.
This is the first book that deals with bird pollination in all of its diversity. It looks beyond the iconic hummingbirds, sunbirds and honeyeaters, to assess the real breadth and significance of avian involvement with flowers. Pollinating birds have intricate lives that are often highly dependent on flowers, and the plants themselves are at the whim of birds for their reproduction. This makes them crucial players within many ecosystems, but these relationships are threatened by disease, habitat destruction and climate change. Yet there are also optimistic stories to be told about conservation and restoration projects that reveal the commitment of scientists, conservationists and the public to preserving these ecologically vital connections.
This groundbreaking study reclaims birds as pollinators. It rescues them from being mere novelties of (especially Neotropical) natural history, and explores their interaction with flowers in all its significance. These associations carry huge importance in the world’s ecosystems, and are the drivers and objects of evolution. In addition, as a source of cultural inspiration, with a history stretching back millennia, they are part of the ongoing relationship between humanity and the rest of nature.
About the AuthorAs a scientist and educator for over 30 years, Jeff Ollerton has developed an international profile in the field of biodiversity, focused particularly on understanding and conserving plant-pollinator interactions. His highly-cited, ground-breaking research has been used by national and international agencies to support efforts to conserve pollinators and their pollination services.
- 336 pages
- Colour plates
- BISAC SCI070040, SCI027000, SCI011000
- BIC PSVW6, PSAJ, PST