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!