Donald Kroodsma’s The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong is an excellent tool for learning bird sounds. Instead of focusing on how to identify specific bird songs and calls, Kroodsma teaches the reader how to listen.
This unique approach can potentially bring your birding ears to new levels and increase your birding enjoyment.
The book comes with a CD that has 98 tracks and includes some of the most prolific and fascinating songsters.
The text includes stories from the field about the birds Kroodsma recorded. The CD tracks are referenced throughout and explained in the appendix.
Also included are sonograms that give a visual of the sounds. This feature makes it possible to “read” the songs much like you would read music. At first this might seem intimidating, but Kroodsma does a superb job walking through the process.
The Singing Life of Birds covers a lot of scientific data about bird songs but is written in a fluid and entertaining way. Some of the field accounts are a bit over explained in detail, but overall is a great read.
The sonograms coupled with the audio tracks is worth the price of admission alone!
The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt