Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Monday, April 2, 2007

Don Kroodsma's book is out in paperback!

Wow--what a lovely gift popped into my mailbox today--the paperback version of The Singing Life of Birds! This extraordinary book, by Don Kroodsma, won the John Burroughs 2006 Medal Award, and is my favorite single bird book ever written. I wrote about it in my Amazon review back when it came out:
I was predisposed to like this book, since I love birdsong and have long been drawn to research about it. But this book far exceeded my high expectations. Don Kroodsma takes us through the entire process of listening to a song, thinking up questions about how the species acquired it, and step by step through the process of learning the answer, setting up the sections like little mysteries. He's recognized by the American Ornithologists' Union as an authority on acquisition of birdsong, and although the book is authoritative and scientific, he somehow manages to infuse every paragraph with his own sense of wonder and joy in his subject. This book may look like a textbook, but it reads like a cross between a mystery novel and lovely poetry. I can't recommend it highly enough.
I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Don Kroodsma when the book first came out two years ago, and made the interview into 6 "For the Birds" segments. In honor of the book being released in paperback, and because it was such a thrill to interview Don in the first place, I just podcast those programs. You can find them at my For the Birds page--scroll down a bit to the archives section.

Don Kroodsma--I took this photo (yes--he's smiling at ME!) during the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's field recording course in 2001, in California. What a thrill to get to spend time in the field with one of my heroes!


  1. This is a special post for me! Don Kroodsma is my cousin, and I am so proud of his work. I came upon your post on a Google search while doing a little family research this morning. I have the book and really love it. Don grew up on a small Michigan farm. Lots of happy times and great memories for me. There are lots of cousins on my dad's side of the family --- there were five girls and two boys, and all but one of them had children. What a blessing to see that a member of my family is your hero! Mary Ann (Sikkema) Potter, Oxford, North Carolina

  2. What a lovely family you must have!