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Birdsong by the Seasons: A Year of Listening to Birds Paperback – May 13, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Har/Com edition (May 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618753362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618753369
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"No one listens to birdsong as intently - or makes so enthusiastic and knowledgeable a guide to this fascinating realm of avian behavior - as Don Kroodsma. In Birdsong by the Seasons, Don explores the dawn chorus of tanagers, the autumnal drumming of grouse, and many more vocalizations, revealing the previously unrecognized complexity of bird communication. And with the book's accompanying CDs, you can listen along to the chatter of tropical wrens, the bugling of cranes, and the sweet flutings of thrushes. You will never listen to a singing bird the same way." - Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind and Of a Feather

"With the training of a scientist and the soul of a poet, Don Kroodsma can show us both the technical and the magical aspects of birdsong, marveling at it even as he explains it. Birdsong by the Seasons is, like the phenomenon it describes, both an education and a sheer delight." - Kenn Kaufman, author of The Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America

"Seeking out birds from southern swamps and pine woods to prairie grasslands and eastern forests (punctuated by a revealing jaunt to the tropics), Don Kroodsma listens with sharp and sensitive ears, gathers sound recordings with captivating stories in mind, analyzes and synthesizes with the uncompromising precision of a well-trained scientist, and then writes with a poet's flair . . . what an extraordinary combination of talents! Without hesitation, I recommend Birdsong by the Seasons to all who embrace the amazing sounds of nature." - Lang Elliott, author of The Frogs and Toads of North America

"This book is a real gem - a rare, honest, insightful treasure-trove of firsthand experiences with natural symphonies and musical solos of the bird world. A world-class scientist puts us inside his blind - and even inside his curious mind - for dozens of intimate moments, appreciating and interpreting the sounds of nature throughout the year." - John W. Fitzpatrick, Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

"Kroodsma's book, full of infectious enthusiasm for his subject, reminds us that eco-tourism and its rewards are as near as our own backyards, where, if we listen attentively, we can begin unlocking the marvelous mysteries of birdsong." - Ned Brinkley, author of the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America

About the Author

A retired biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Donald Kroodsma's work on bird song is legendary. His book The Singing Life of Birds won the 2006 John Burroughs Medal Award and the American Birding Association's Robert Ridgway Distinguished Service Award for excellence in publications pertaining to field ornithology. In 2003 the American Ornithologits' Union called him the "reigning authority on the biology of avian vocal behavior." Kroodsma received his Ph.D. at Oregon State University and has traveled all over North and South America researching bird song. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union and the Animal Behavior Society and has published hundreds of academic and popular articles.

More About the Author

A retired biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Donald Kroodsma's work on bird song is legendary. His book "The Singing Life of Birds" won the 2006 John Burroughs Medal Award and the American Birding Association's Robert Ridgway Distinguished Service Award for excellence in publications pertaining to field ornithology. In 2003 the American Ornithologits' Union called him the "reigning authority on the biology of avian vocal behavior." Kroodsma received his Ph.D. at Oregon State University and has traveled all over North and South America researching bird song. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union and the Animal Behavior Society and has published hundreds of academic and popular articles.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By avid birder on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book--so different from his Singing Life of Birds that won the John Burroughs Medal, yet every bit as good if not even better. Kroodsma's text and two CDs of bird songs take me with him to experience each dawn as it unfolds throughout the year, from January through December. Through each chapter, I learn, I often laugh, and I reach the end in awe with a much better appreciation of the complexity and beauty of birds.

My favorite vignettes? It's so hard to choose among them since each of the 24 chapters takes me to a different experience with different birds and places. Some that especially stand out for me include the all-night symphony of sound from wading birds on roost in January in the Everglades; the deafening clamor of tens of thousands of cranes and snow geese flying overhead on the Platte River in Nebraska in March; how the dawn chorus at a cemetery in June brings back memories of a special birding companion; listening to the next generation of singers, as a young song sparrow, house wren, chickadee, goldfinches, and other songbirds practice their songs in August; hilltop listening to calls of migrant birds throughout September nights; the power and majesty of Mr. Grouse in October, as he struts on stage, drums, exits, and returns for repeat performances; and the anticipation and excitement felt on a late December day, when a burst of singing by titmice, robins, chickadees, nuthatches, and other songbirds declare that the winter solstice is in fact their first day of spring.

I read Sand County Almanac some thirty years ago, and have been waiting and looking for another book that could inspire me and take me to nature as Leopold did. Finally, Birdsong by the Seasons is that book. It is truly a treasure, a book that reveals the magic of birds like no other book I know.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aven on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Donald Kroodsma may be a retired University Professor, but his writing is prose at its best. As a scientist and with experience writing prose, I can tell you that Kroodsma spins wonderful spell binding tales matched only by his own recordings of birds from your backyard, and those from exotic rainforests. Each chapter is of a different bird in a different season, so we get stories from wintering robins, orioles incubating their eggs, and fledglings learning their song-craft. I received this book as a gift and whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who loves reading and listening birds.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Birdrad on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in bird songs/calls this book is highly recommended. It is just as good as Donald Kroodsma'a prior book "The Singing Life Of Birds" but many chapters focus on calls rather than songs so that it is some ways complimentary to the prior publication. Some highlights for me were the sections on the winter robin roost , the white-eyed vireo(which mimics calls rather than songs), the chapter on young birds practicing their subsongs and the chapter on winter solsctice which Mr. Kroodsma proclaims is really the first day of spring (not the first day of winter)to the avian mind. As was the case with the previous book I will henceforth listen to bird vocalizations in a different way when I venture into the field

CBT
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
BIRDSONG BY THE SEASONS; A YEAR OF LISTENING TO BIRDS comes with two CDs of birdsong and offers insights into seasonal birds and the different songs they song. Sonograms plot a sound's frequency and analyzes the foundations of melody, while lively discussions cover bird activities and changing seasonal trends. Any library strong in birding and any individual interested in a more in-depth coverage of birdsong than mere identification alone, needs this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mianfei on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Don Kroodsma's previous The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong stands as a wonderful introduction to the topic of birdsong, with amazing details and sonograms of bird vocalisations. For this reason, I bought "Birdsong by the Seasons: A Year of Listening to Birds" immediately upon seeing it discounted in the main natural history bookstore in Melbourne, Andrew Isles.

On the whole, "Birdsong by the Seasons: A Year of Listening to Birds", is a valuable read, with good detail about birdsong in a variety of locations, mostly in Kroodsma's native United States but one in the famed "cloud forests" of Central America. The information about the concentration required to collect and record birdsong is very interesting and makes for some really good reading: having to stay up at night in the wilderness I have never done but have read that it is required where snow will melt during the daytime (as on Kilimanjaro). Kroodsma also does other tricks, for instance re-listening to birdsongs during the quiet autumn period before resident birds prepare for the harsh Enriched World winters.

However, compared to his startling "The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong", "Birdsong by the Seasons: A Year of Listening to Birds" can seem almost a let-down because Kroodsma merely fail to offer any startling new information, or find out where and how birds sing like his previous work did. Too much of the book seems typical: there are not even any duetting birds or others where females sing sought out (e.g. in the deserts of the Southwest or better still of the Eastern Hemisphere where female song is typical).
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