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Books on Birdsong

Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Birdsong, by David Rothenberg, Basic Books, May 2005, Hardcover
Why Birds Sing, by musician and philosopher David Rothenberg, is the first introduction to the world of bird song that combines the insights of science, poetry, and music. The aim is to show that we need all three human ways of knowing to find the fullest understanding of these beautiful, natural sounds which resound around us every spring.
The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong with CD by Donald Kroodsma, Houghton Mifflin, April 2005, Hardcover
Through personal stories, Ornithologist Don Kroodsma puts the reader inside the mind of a research scientist to explore how and why birds sing and how people can better understand them through their songs. Includes an audio CD of birdsongs. "The book is about the miracle of the singing bird and what we can hear if we simply pause and take the time," says Kroodsma. "It's about moving beyond 'identifying' birds toward 'identifying with' them."
Birdsong: A Natural History, by Don Stap, Scribners, March 2005, Hardcover
An engaging profile of ornithologist Don Kroodsma and his pioneering field studies of birdsong in the wild. Stap distills the complexities of the study of birdsong and unveils a discovery that sheds light on the mystery of mysteries: why young birds in the suborder oscines - the "true songbirds" - learn their songs but the closely related suboscines are born with their songs genetically encoded. As the story unfolds, Stap contemplates our enduring fascination with birdsong, from ancient pictographs and early Greek soothsayers, who knew that bird calls represented the voices of the gods, to the story of Mozart's pet starling.

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