Armchair travel to meet birds around the world
by Nicole Rivard, FoA Editor
It’s been documented in the media that an interest in bird watching has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. New birders are being captivated by what they are seeing right in their own backyards.
But more seasoned birders who are used to traveling to see elusive species who inhabit far-flung lands are having a harder time getting their fix.
That’s why we like 200 Bird Songs from Around the World by bird biologist Les Beletsky. It’s the next best thing to traveling to find birds because readers get to see and hear them. And you don’t have to be attached to a screen for a change.
The book features captivating full-color paintings along with a description of each bird’s behavior, environment and vocalizations. Then using a built-in digital audio player, readers can listen to each bird as it sings or calls in nature. The recordings come from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library, which is home to the world’s largest collection of bird recordings.
“Reading about birds is one thing but being able to also hear what the birds sound like allows that content to have much more impact,” said publisher Delia Greve. “Bringing together the text, artwork and sounds in a way that allows someone to sit down, read, listen and share with others is special.”
We couldn’t agree more. Here at Friends of Animals our appreciation for birds runs deep as we have gone to the wall to protect numerous species, including the yellow-billed cuckoo, scarlet macaw, barred owl, snowy owl, mute swan, Canada goose, as well as Philippine, yellow-crested and white cockatoos, and many more.
Greve points out that the average person can most likely only name a few types of birds, but 200 Bird Songs from Around the World introduces a whole new world of birds from each continent. There’s the superb lyrebird of southeastern Australia, whose vocalizations are 70% imitations of other birds. Readers will also meet the great potoo, an owl-like bird from South America who doesn’t build a nest but lays a single egg in a crevice or tree. Also from South America is the greater ani, who follows troupes of monkeys to eat the insects flushed out of the foliage as they move through the forest.
The book is something families can enjoy together. Some people will dive into the text to glean new facts, others may study the pictures for the colors and markings, while the rest may focus on listening to what each bird sounds like.
“Whatever your age or however you want to go through the book, there is something for everyone,” Greve said. “We hope the book will leave readers with a sense of wonder about the
incredible diversity of birds on our earth and a desire to protect their habitat. It might just inspire the family to take up birdwatching together.”