Surprise book of the month

New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers. By Andrew Garn

In our urban landscape, pigeons are scorned as feral, dirty pests. Dedicated pigeon fancier, author and photographer Andrew Garn sets out to destroy this misconception, presenting the noble pigeon as beautiful, intelligent and a friend to the human race. The population of pigeons in New York City exceeds one million. These are their stories…

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This book is something different. Amazing and comprehensive, it is full of superb photographs which highlight the beauty of these birds, the luminosity of their feathers, jewel toned eyes and their majesty in flight.

In the first section of his book Andrew Garn examines the history behind the pigeon and how they have been an integral and valued part of human society – a bird whose remains have been discovered in archaeological digs dating back to the Ancient Egyptian and middle eastern civilisations “It might be surprising that a plump, multi-hued bird that wanders our sidewalks, perches on our buildings, and flutters all about, could have the bloodlines of a dinosaur, and be a gourmet food. Also used in religious sacrifices, this bird has been both a war hero and the focus of Charles Darwin’s experiments on natural selection.” (Page 17, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers, 2018).

We have heard stories of homing pigeons carrying coded messages during World War II. But did you know, that using positive reinforcement, pigeons were trained to guide US Navy missiles with an accuracy surpassing human ability? Or that they also have much better sight than us. A pigeon can see five colour spectrums from infrared to ultraviolet.
Garn examines the physiology of the pigeon (Columba livia domestica) to explain how these birds are perfectly efficient flying machines with sustained speeds of around 50mph. They can outperform any other bird in aerial acrobatics and survive in a variety of environments. He also explains how pigeons hatch and grow.

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Baby pigeon takes its first steps.  Image by Andrew Garn

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In flight.  Image by Andrew Garn

The second section of this book features stories about birds who have been rescued and rehabilitated at the Wild Bird Fund in New York. It is easy to tell how much the author values pigeons, from his stunning portraiture that captures their individual expressions perfectly, to the accompanying captions which relate each bird’s name and courageous journey. Garn’s striking work is reminiscent of a photoshoot in a fashion magazine.

Humans are not left out. Garn volunteers at the shelter. He relates his experiences treating birds and the dangers that they face living among us. You will feel empathy for these creatures. “They are struck by cars and bicycles, attacked by our dogs and cats, removed from the nest when the air conditioner is cleaned, entangled in our litter, sickened by toxins, particularly lead, which we put in the environment, and suffer abuse at our hands,” Rita McMahon, executive director of the Wild Bird Fund. (Page 143, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers 2018).

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Brooklyn. Image by Andrew Garn

 

Marilyn

Marilyn.  Image by Andrew Garn

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Apollo. Image by Andrew Garn

Elmer

Elmer.  Image by Andrew Garn

We also read about the dedicated staff and other volunteers who care for the sick or injured pigeons and other city birds. And there are also New Yorkers who keep pigeons as pets, with coops in the city neighbourhoods, even raising them in apartments.
Lastly the book features a series of photographs which centres on the daily lives of pigeons set against the backdrop of the buildings and skyline of New York City.

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Image by Andrew Garn

You can reserve The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers online. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Jigsaw puzzles: erasing mental cobwebs since 1760

Jigsaws are good for your head. Fact.

When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both sides of the brain: the left side of the brain which deals with logic and sequence, and the right side of the brain that deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically. When you use both sides of the brain, it intensely exercises your brain cells and increases brain capacity.

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Staff tackling one of the library’s communal jigsaw puzzles.

The process of completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a form of meditation. Focusing on the same image for a long period can induce calmness and peace in your mind, as your concentration eludes everything else around you.

Chipping away at a jigsaw on a regular basis sharpens your memory and improves your clarity of thought, clearing away mental cobwebs. You can really lose yourself in a jigsaw, just like you do when you read a page turning novel.

London cartographer John Splisbury, is credited with commercialising jigsaw puzzles around 1760 and they have been a hit ever since. Not long afterwards they had the approval from the British royal family, being used in geography lessons for their children. The word jigsaw seems to be a misnomer, as they were meant to be named ‘fretsaws’, after the tools that cut the wooden pieces.

Tea Tree Gully Library has in excess of 200 different jigsaw puzzles. They are all available for customers to take home, without having to formally check them out on their card.

Our jigsaw collection features a range of graphics, including foreign cities, nature panoramas, cartoons and more. There are jigsaws with 100 pieces, and some with 3000. Make your selection on the challenge you’re up for!

You can always contribute to the library’s communal jigsaw table, which is right next to the collection.

 

Our new Disability Friendly Collection is here

Scrabble large printIn response to community need we have developed a disability friendly collection. This collection is available for all of our customers to use. All items within the collection are available for loan, and some items can even be used in the library.

 

 

Collection items you can borrow and try at home include:

  • Deluxe Scrabble board
  • Large print dominos
  • Braille Uno and Large Print playing cards
  • Large Print Songbooks
  • Listen and Play Music Lessons DVD
  • Bingo support set and Rummikub
  • Daisy Player device for use with our spoken word    collection or download from the Vision Australia     catalogue
  • Navigator device for use with the downloadable RSB
    catalogue
  • Booksense Audio Multiplayer device

The Library partnerships team can provided one on one support for some of these devices. To arrange a time please contact a member of the Partnerships team on 8397 7456. All devices come with full instructions.