Heinrich on ‘The Homing Instinct’

Aug 05, 2014
Photo by: Richard B. Clark Bernd Heinrich

Belfast — Left Bank Books will host renowned naturalist Bernd Heinrich Saturday, Aug. 16, for a talk and signing of his new book, “The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration.” His talk will be from 3 to 4 p.m. at the First Church UCC, diagonally across from the bookshop on Church Street. Afterwards, he will sign books at the shop. The public is warmly invited to this free event, but reservations are required.

Heinrich, an acclaimed scientist and author, has returned every year since boyhood to a beloved patch of western Maine woods. In “The Homing Instinct,” he examines the innate desire for a homecoming that seems to exist across species. 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.

Heinrich is a professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont and the author of numerous books including the best-selling “Winter World,” “Mind of the Raven,” “A Year in the Maine Woods” and “The Snoring Bird.” Among Heinrich’s many honors is the 2013 PEN New England Award for nonfiction for “Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death.” All of these titles will be available for purchase at the shop, and pre-orders are welcome.

For more information or to make a reservation for this event, call 338-9009 or email leftbank@myfairpoint.net. The bookshop is located at 109 Church St. and is open daily.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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