Birdsong: A Natural History

Paperback | May 15, 2006

byDon Stap

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Many of us have experienced the interruption, pleasant or otherwise, of a bird singing from high in the trees or a lone chirper perched outside a bedroom window and wondered what the song was about. Following a world expert on birdsong from the woods of Martha's Vineyard to the tropicalforests of Central America, Don Staop brings to life the quest to unravel this ancient mystery: Why do birds sing and what do their songs really mean? In this creative mixture of reportage, storytelling, and research, Stap distills the complexities of the study of birdsong and unveils a remarkable discovery that sheds light on the mystery of mysteries: why young birds in the suborder oscines--the "true" songbirds--must learn their songs whileclosely related birds 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 to the story of Mozart's pet starling. He identifies birds by their specific sounds and calls,and explains the true function of a bird's song, from mating calls to claims of territory. In a modern, noisy world, it is increasingly difficult to hear the sounds of nature around us. Exploring birdsong takes us to that rare place--in danger of disappearing forever--where one hears only the planet's oldest music.

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Many of us have experienced the interruption, pleasant or otherwise, of a bird singing from high in the trees or a lone chirper perched outside a bedroom window and wondered what the song was about. Following a world expert on birdsong from the woods of Martha's Vineyard to the tropicalforests of Central America, Don Staop brings to l...

Don Stap is Professor of English at the University of Central Florida, and author of A Parrot without a Name. He is also a frequent contributor to Audubon magazine, The Smithsonian, Travel and Leisure, and The New York Times.

other books by Don Stap

Birdsong
Birdsong

Kobo ebook|Nov 1 2007

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 5.31 × 7.8 × 0.51 inPublished:May 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195309014

ISBN - 13:9780195309010

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"This excellent book will challenge readers to listen to birds as well as watch them."--Booklist