There are days when, if we hunt or fish or watch birds, we just want to be alone with our thoughts. Other times, however, contemplating the great outdoors that contains so many unknowns, we may wish to learn about moaning moose . . . or mumbling carp . . . or magnetic deer. And this is where Robert M. Zink enters the scene.
A writer who humorously bridges the gap between esoteric information and nature as we have come to know it, Zink distills the latest news from the world of science into three-minute bursts of irresistible lore for the layman. In these brief, engaging essays readers will discover, for instance, how deer use the earth’s magnetic field for orientation; a long-gone tradition of hunting loons in North Carolina; how porcupine quills are advancing new ideas about delivering inoculations; and why deer antlers can model bone regeneration for amputees.
How do predator–prey cycles get started? Should we worry about black bear attacks in the woods? Zink has the answers—often to questions we didn’t think to ask but wish we had. This is the outdoors at its mysterious best, as the experience of nature and the findings of science combine to educate our sense of wonder and tickle our fancy—to say nothing of our highly unscientific funny bone.
Robert M. Zink is Breckenridge chair in ornithology at the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, where he also serves as the curator of birds and is professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior.