The Bottom Line
Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan… And the World is an entertaining read of the social history of rock pigeons, urban birds that are frequently overlooked because they are too common and familiar for most birders to spend time studying. With this book, however, birders can discover just how remarkable the species is, and plain old pigeons won't be viewed the same way again.
- Entertaining writing keeps reader engaged
- Illustrative photos give visual insight to studied birds
- Logical progression of text includes personal anecdotes
- Offers few comparisons to contemporary urban pigeons
- Lacks a glossary or index
- Title: Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan… And the World
- Author: Courtney Humphries
- Publisher: Smithsonian Books
- Publication Date: August 2008
- Format: Hardcover
- Page Count: 196
- ISBN: 978-0-06-125916-6
- Price: $24.95
Guide Review - Superdove
Like most birders, I wasn't originally a fan of rock pigeons, but after reading Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan… And the World I look at Columba livia with new eyes. With personal anecdotes, unique photos and skilled writing, this book shares the rich, invigorating history of the rock pigeon and its many fancy bred cousins. The book is written in a conversational style with short sections to keep the detailed information from becoming overwhelming while Courtney Humphries shares her personal journey into pigeon history in a fascinating way that will take every reader and birder along for the flight.
From original nesting cliffs to hobby lofts to city streets, the journey of the rock pigeon spans centuries, continents and civilizations. Birders can't help but be fascinated by the varied history of what most consider to be a very ordinary bird. By understanding the history and avian evolution Humphries presents, including our changing perceptions of the birds, birders can better appreciate the species they see most and its unflappable adaptability. "Pigeons are able to create a natural habitat out of areas that seem hostile to animal life. In a way, they help to bring a bit of nature back into cities."
While rock pigeons may never top the list of birders' most desired species, Superdove can help birders learn to appreciate the extraordinary in even the most ordinary birds.