Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature

Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature


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• Essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Jared Diamond, John W. Fitzpatrick, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, and Scott Weidensaul

• The Cornell Lab of Ornithology celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2015

• 250 images, illustrating more than 100 North American bird species

• Connecting people to birds opens their eyes to the natural world!


For 100 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has researched the lives of birds, educating the public and striving for protection of species and habitat. But the Lab does more than just study—it celebrates birds through song and image, and connects people to birds, opening thousands of eyes to the natural world around us.

An intimate yet stunning exploration of North American species, The Living Bird shares our joyful and complex relationship with birds. Through imagery and thoughtful essays, award-winning photographer Gerrit Vyn, along with leading naturalists and bird enthusiasts, takes readers on a visual and experiential journey, revealing the essence of the century-long work done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Barbara Kingsolver remembers herself as a reluctant birder until, years later, she exalts in a special birding trip with her father. From this evocative beginning, Scott Weidensaul then delves into the secret lives of birds: How do flocks of birds manage to migrate thousands of miles? What determines who mates with whom? And what is the purpose of all those pretty feathers and glorious melodies? In her essay, Lyanda Lynn Haupt finds inspiration in our everyday birds as they connect us to the natural world, and she describes how citizen science—sharing daily observations via ebird, for example—has enriched her own understanding of everything around us. Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology John W. Fitzpatrick considers the threats birds face today, and some of the failures—and successes—of the past. While too many species have been driven to extinction, others have made remarkable recoveries thanks to human action. Jared Diamond underscores that it is in our hands to preserve the living birds around us.

Throughout, Vyn’s remarkable photographs of birds, both familiar and exotic, bring the exhilaration of migratory Whooping Cranes, the fragility of the endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, and the wide-eyed beauty of Great Horned Owls alive on the page. From enjoying Black-capped Chickadees or Yellow Warblers in a backyard birdbath to spotting a Pileated Woodpecker in the woods to admiring the powerful soar of a Gyrfalcon, the appeal of watching and listening to birds leads us into a greater understanding of their environment—and of ours.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594859656
Publisher: Mountaineers Books, The
Publication date: 10/01/2015
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 518,511
Product dimensions: 9.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

"he Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York, is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Their hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature, and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. Founded in 1915, the Cornell Lab is a nonprofit organization whose vibrant community includes 200,000 citizen-science participants from all walks of life, and 5 million bird enthusiasts of all ages who connect with them online at . Learn more at

Gerrit Vyn is a Seattle-based photographer whose images have been used by many conservation organizations and appear regularly in books and magazines including National Geographic, Audubon, Living Bird, BBC Wildlife, Natural History, National Wildlife, and New Scientist. He was the primary image provider for two State of the Birds reports that were delivered to Congress by a coalition of leading environmental organizations. He also has produced and authored two CD compilations, Voices of North American Owls and Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest. His audio and video work has been featured on radio and television programs including NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's Living on Earth, Birdnote, PBS News Hour, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Contributors to The Living Bird
Barbara Kingsolver is the bestselling and beloved author of numerous books, including the novels The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, and The Poisonwood Bible and the memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. She is the recipient of dozens of awards including the National Humanities Medal, the country's highest honor for service through the arts.

Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among his many awards are the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He has authored six books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt is a naturalist, eco-philosopher, and author of numerous articles as well as four books, including Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness, which received the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, and Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds, a winner of the 2002 Washington State Book Award.

Scott Weidensaul is a naturalist and author who has written more than two dozen books, including Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding and Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

John W. Fitzpatrick is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a professional ornithologist with expertise in avian behavior, ecology, and conservation biology. For 17 years he has been Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

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Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jfleener More than 1 year ago
This is the most beautiful book I have ever held in my hands.