July 29, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Emotional lives of birds (?)

Cardinal I recently read The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy -- and Why They Matter. The author is Marc Bekoff, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder. (Yes, I know that is a hotbed of New Age nuttiness and anti-American cranks such as Prof. Ward Churchill.) If you're not a nature enthusiast or a pet owner, you will almost certainly scoff at the premise of the book -- that animals possess emotions akin to our own. The book was full of compelling anecdotes, but there is no systematic compilation of evidence to support the author's thesis. Thus, it probably won't change very many people's minds on the subject. If you are curious and/or open minded, see the author's Web site.

I finally got a decent, well-lit photo of a Cardinal out back last week. What emotions, if any, does this guy exhibit?

Not much birding activity to report. The usual birds are hanging out behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad and along Bell's Lane.