The Homing Instinct

Acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has returned every year since boyhood to a beloved patch of western Maine woods.

The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal MigrationThe Homing Instinct
By Bernd Heinrich
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Retail Price $16.95
Amazon Price: $13.21

 

 

Book Description: 

Acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has returned every year since boyhood to a beloved patch of western Maine woods. What is the biology in humans of this deep-in-the-bones pull toward a particular place, and how is it related to animal homing?

Heinrich explores the fascinating science chipping away at the mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory; how scent trails are used by many creatures, from fish to insects to amphibians, to pinpoint their home if they are displaced from it; and how the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. Most movingly, Heinrich chronicles the spring return of a pair of sandhill cranes to their home pond in the Alaska tundra. With his trademark “marvelous, mind-altering” prose (Los Angeles Times), he portrays the unmistakable signs of deep psychological emotion in the newly arrived birds—and reminds us that to discount our own emotions toward home is to ignore biology itself.

Review

Where I live the geese migrate to my area in the spring and head back down South in the Fall.  One of my favorite sounds in the Fall is the sights and sounds of the geese migration.  I never really thought much of migration of other birds, but this book sparked my interest in animal migration in general. The author looks at the science behind animal behaviors as they relate to migration and he causes us to wonder if there is some instinct within humans that cause us to yearn for our childhood home.  Heinrich has an easy and poetic style of writing, and I enjoyed the detail about his own “homing” back to the Maine woods for deer hunting each year. It was well written and very interesting to read.

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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