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About The Book

A charming and eye-opening exploration of the special relationship between humans and chickens from Sy Montgomery, “one of our finest chroniclers of the natural world” (The New York Times).

For more than two decades, Sy Montgomery—whose The Soul of an Octopus was a National Book Award finalist—has kept a flock of chickens in her backyard. Each chicken has an individual personality (outgoing or shy, loud or quiet, reckless or cautious) and connects with Sy in her own way.

In this short, delightful book, Sy takes us inside the flock and reveals all the things that make chickens such remarkable creatures: only hours after leaving the egg, they are able to walk, run, and peck; relationships are important to them and the average chicken can recognize more than one hundred other chickens; they remember the past and anticipate the future; and they communicate specific information through at least twenty-four distinct calls. Visitors to her home are astonished by all this, but for Sy what’s more astonishing is how little most people know about chickens, especially considering there are about twenty percent more chickens on earth than people.

With a winning combination of personal narrative and science, What the Chicken Knows is exactly the kind of book that has made Sy Montgomery such a beloved and popular author.

About The Author

Tianne Strombeck

Sy Montgomery is a naturalist, adventurer, and author of more than thirty acclaimed books of nonfiction for adults and children, including The Hummingbirds’ GiftThe Hawk’s Way, the National Book Award finalist The Soul of an Octopus, and most recently, Of Time and Turtles, which was a New York Times bestseller. The recipient of numerous honors, including lifetime achievement awards from the Humane Society and the New England Booksellers Association, she lives in New Hampshire with her husband, writer Howard Mansfield, and a border collie.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (December 5, 2024)
  • Length: 96 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668047361

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for Sy Montgomery

“[Sy Montgomery is] one of our finest chroniclers of the natural world.” —The New York Times

Praise for The Hummingbirds' GIft

“Montgomery's bright, richly illustrated chronicle stirs renewed appreciation for human empathy, skill, and wonder and a miraculous winged species.” —Booklist

“A hummingbird book that’s like them—zippy and fun...[It] will warm your heart while making you into an armchair ornithologist. ” —Associated Press

"This slim book, centered on two abandoned hummingbirds who are nurtured back to health, is ideal for garden reading." —Washington Post, "Feel-good books to brighten your summer"

Praise for The Hawk's Way

“If you’re a bird-lover—or otherwise revel in nature—you’ll appreciate Montgomery’s latest... It’s an informative read that will make you want to go outside and look up into the sky.” —Washington Post

“To anyone curious about the allure of falconry, [The Hawk’s Way] is a good place to start.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Radiant…Collapsing the distance between birds and people, this concise and charming book feels custom-made for readers of Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk.” —Shelf Awareness

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