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Re: Birdsong: a natural history - Don Stap

Subject: Re: Birdsong: a natural history - Don Stap
From: "Steve Pelikan" pelikan45224
Date: Tue Oct 3, 2006 7:10 am (PDT)
I read this book over a year ago and am about 1 year overdue for a
review I promised. Thanks for reminding me!

The book is of the "interested observer follows expert around" type ---
the author shadowed Donald Kroodsma into several interesting settings:
studying Chickadee songs on an island, participating in a recording
workshop, and observing Bellbirds in central america.

The author is interested but very objective. The book does a good job of
presenting both sides of some of the controversies that have
motivated/driven birdsong research in the last few decades.

It is carefully researched with only a few minor errors of fact that I
noticed. The author has chosen to include a lot of good science in the
book which means it is a little less lively reading than someone who
want pure entertainment would enjoy.

My bottom line is that it is a carefully researched and written account
of what birdsong researchers have been up to in the last 50 years or so.

It is almost entirely concerned with nearctic and neotropical species
and so perhaps of slightly less interest to people in other parts of the
world --- though the science is just as good even if you can't hear the
birds it mentioned in you yard every day.

I enjoyed the book.

Hope this helps. We can trade emails if you have more specific questions.

Steve P

Syd Curtis wrote:
> An Australian bookshop's latest email list includes:
> Stap, Don. Birdsong: a natural history. New York: 2006.
> Octavo, paperback, 259 pp. AU$32.00
> Following one of the world's experts on birdsong around the world,
> this book deals with the quest to unravel an ancient mystery: why
> do birds sing and what to do their songs mean?
> I'd be grateful for comment on its merits from anyone who is familiar wit=
> it.
> Syd Curtis (Brisbane, Australia)
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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"Microphones are not ears,
Loudspeakers are not birds,
A listening room is not nature."
Klas Strandberg

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