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The Homing Instinct

Melanie Colón
  • Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration Bernd Heinrich Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014 http://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/The-Homing-Instinct/9780547198484

    Pages: 384


    The paperback version is published by Mariner Press.


    A second hardback edition was published in Sep 2014 by William Collins, with a new subtitle "The Story and Science of Migration", ISBN 9780007594054, and cover image.

    English 04/08/2014 0547198485 9780547198484 04/21/2015 0544484010 9780544484016 04/08/2014 9780547523637

A captivating exploration of the homing instinct in animals, and what it means for human happiness and survival, from the celebrated naturalist and author of Mind of the Raven, Why We Run, and Life Everlasting.


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.

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