Backyard Birdsong Guides

Republished by The Cornell Lab Publishing Group, Spring 2016. Available at Amazon

Cornell--2 new guides

 Eastern and Central North America                                              Western North AmericaBackyard West front cover Backyard East front cover








1) Contents and Introduction for the two books
2) Readers are saying
3) Amazon readers love these books
4) The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds
5) Chronicle Books

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1) Contents and Introduction for the two books

The Backyard Birdsong Guide. Eastern and Central North America.
A Guide to Listening. A Cornell Lab of Ornithology Audio Field Guide.

ISBN 978-0-8118-6342-1; 192 pages

Click on image to read

Eastern Final Cover jpg

Click on this link to read the Contents and Introduction of this book:
Backyard Birdsong Guide: Eastern and Central Contents and Intro

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 The Backyard Birdsong Guide, Western North America.
A Guide to Listening. A Cornell Lab of Ornithology Audio Field Guide.

ISBN 978-0-8118-6397-1; 192 pages

Click on image to read

Western Final Cover jpg

 Click on this link to read the Contents and Introduction of this book:
Backyard Western Contents and Intro


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2) Readers are saying

Don Kroodsma’s passion for birdsong is infectious, and this guide will have any birder (including me) listening to birds with new insight and appreciation after reading it.
—David Allen Sibley, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds

There is no better guide to the fascinating world of birdsong than Don Kroodsma, who in this handy book shows that even in the average backyard there is drama, mystery, and excitement, all bound up in the song of a bird.
—Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind and Of a Feather

Kroodsma’s latest book is a gem. Each page brims with enthusiasm and erudition, the product of countless hours spent in “deep listening”—applying the attentiveness and aesthetic appreciation of a musician to the songs and calls of birds. Even advanced students of birdsong will find much that is new in these pages—and refreshingly well composed!
—Ned Brinkley, Editor, North American Birds

Don Kroodsma once again gives us a reason to listen to birds as individuals. What a gift to all birders to be able to listen to these birds with new ears.
—Bill Thompson, III, Editor, Bird Watcher’s Digest

 With his trademark clarity and charm, Donald Kroodsma takes us beyond identification and into the realm of understanding. What are the different functions of the multiple songs given by many birds? How do songs differ among individuals? And what causes those differences? These are cutting-edge scientific questions, and it is to Kroodsma’s credit that he provides compelling and easily understood answers.
—Ted Floyd, Editor, Birding

Watching birds is only half the fun—knowing how to listen to them is the other half. This handy audio book teaches you how to listen to birds and to understand who they are and what they are saying to each other. It will double your enjoyment—both outdoors and indoors.
—Greg Butcher, National Audubon Society


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3) Amazon readers love these books

Avid Birder: Wow!! What a terrific book . . . the text, the sounds, the selection of species, the layout . . . everything works perfectly together. I opened my pre-release copy, intending to spend just a few minutes and return to it later. Two hours went by, and I was still reading and listening; I couldn’t stop turning the pages . . . This is a truly special book. I’d give it ten stars if I could. Now I have the perfect gift to give to my friends to show them why I’ve always been so thrilled to hear a singing bird

WolfeWoman: I LOVE this book! . . . I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Mary Esterhammer-Fic: This is a GREAT book. I would recommend this to anyone who ever has the chance to listen to birdsong (in other words, everyone I know). It’s amazing.  . . .The best feature of this book is that it integrates audio with well-written text and beautiful illustrations.

Ken J. Heeter: What a novel idea, a picture book of birds which not only informs the reader about each one BUT also has the sounds made by each bird with some giving both the male and female tune. This is not the run of the mill children’s book but a very adult reference that should not be missing in any home where birding is of interest. This particular publication represents those birds found in the Eastern and Central United States but there are also books for other areas.

Ginger M. Culpepper: Fantastic guide! We use it with our grandchildren  . . .  I would highly recommend this guide to anyone who wants to learn more about birds of their region or has children or grandchildren who could benefit from this knowledge.

L. Palmer:  Bought this for my 8 year old; both grandmas want a copy now!

mashbb:  Incredible find . . . If you are curious about birdsongs, this book is a gem!

Jan LaFratta: Love this book . . .

Tiger’s Mom “Timmy’s Mom”:  This book is the BEST! It is easy to use, and chock-full of information on the various types of birds. My friend even uses it out in the field to call in birds! Great learning tool for ALL ages — my nephew’s 3-year old knows many of the songs by heart now!!

Margaret J. Thompson: Authentic bird sounds. Very interesting text

English “edu”: This book is really great. You can look up the bird that you are interested in and not only read about it, but listen to their calls.

theresa rolando:  Just love the book.

Laura Glover:  Best Book you can buy!!! . . . This book is awesome! It makes it soo easy to learn how to identify different birds and their unique songs. You will not be disappointed!

Hilma A.:  What a wonderful book! I must have sat for an hour listening to all the bird calls/songs. My 8-year-old great-granddaughter went off to a room alone and must have sat there

M. Evans: Awesome book! . . . This is a wonderful book. Having the songs right at your finger tips while viewing the wonderful illustrations is a wonderful idea. The sounds are so clear and crisp, not ‘tinny’ as some I have heard set up similar to this. I would recommend this book to anyone with any interest in birds. Great for both young and old alike.

Hokie Beth “Beth in Virginia”: A wonderful book!!! . . . This is a terrific book, well written, nice pictures and description, and well organized. The bird sounds are clear and accurate, and the number system is easy to use. Great book for anyone who loves nature and bird identification.

Ann “Ann”: Take a listen at this . . . This is really fun and very informative. I am struggling to learn birdsongs so I can identify birds without seeing them. This book opens a whole new world. The commentary is helpful also. I use this book right along with Peterson. By the way cats like it

Lucia Anderson: Super resource . . . The Backyard Birdsong Guide is a wonderful resource

Erroll Llynn Wilson: Love Birds? Buy This Book! . . . If you love birds, bird songs or just learning more about them, then this is the perfect book for you . . . Prepare to be delighted!

A. Johnson “Elem. teacher”: Great! . . . I bought this book for my classroom. The kids (5 yr olds) LOVE it…so do I! What a wonderful way to learn about birds.

Denise TN (TN): Awesome! . . . This book is great! The bird singing is so realistic that my dogs go nuts looking for the birds! The book also has a lot of info on the birds and the artist renditions are wonderful. LOVE THIS BOOK!

Marilyn K. Franz (Ark. USA): Worth every penny . . . this book has been a treasure

Kimberly Baldridge. Great! . . . Love, Love, Love the book.

Terry Rudy (Londonderry, NH): Very interesting . . . Really neat to actually be able to hear the sounds of the birds as you study the other information concerning them.


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 4) The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds

CLO--All about birds logo

Click on image find Cornell’s web page

Backyard Birdsong Guides

Learning to recognize the voices of backyard birds is as easy as pushing a button, thanks to two new books that can literally carry a tune. The Backyard Birdsong guides showcase common birds of eastern and western North America using built-in players loaded with birdsong recordings from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library. Both guides include sounds for 75 species accompanied by scientifically accurate illustrations and range maps. The books are written by Donald Kroodsma, a visiting fellow at the Lab who has nursed a smoldering passion for birdsong for more than four decades.

“Once people start pushing buttons, they can’t stop!” Kroodsma says of the Backyard Birdsong books. “A CD is wonderful and has great quality, but it doesn’t have the convenience of being able to push a button right now and hear the bird. The technicians worked so hard on taking these songs—supplied by the Macaulay Library—and getting them just right, fitting them into the little electronic modules with a limited memory and then programming them so that they sounded like a real bird singing—a marvelous feat.”

Learning to recognize bird songs is a skill like any other, Kroodsma says—a skill that requires practice. “I described this in the introduction to the Backyard Birdsong books,” he says. “When I hear birds singing I see their songs dancing across the sky in these frequency-time graphs called sonograms—like musical scores for bird song.”

The Backyard Birdsong guides follow the success of their bigger brothers, Bird Songs from Around the World and Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song, both written by Les Beletsky. They also feature built-in players and recordings from the Macaulay Library. So what’s the big deal about birdsong?

“These songs are really a window on the minds of these birds,” says Kroodsma. “Every time a bird opens its bill and says something it’s a window on—I say it loosely—what it’s thinking.” Price: $24.95 each.


CLO--All about birds logo

Click on image find Cornell’s web page

 The Backyard Birdsong Guides

In early spring of 2008, two new books were published through the combined efforts of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Donald Kroodsma and Chronicle Books.

The books provide the user the ability to hear the song of each species at the push of a button. The text provides interesting and detailed information on the songs and calls of each species.

Two versions are available, one features birds of the eastern and mid-western United States and the other features birds of the western United States.

Behind the Scenes

The author

Donald Kroodsma is a recognized expert on bird songs. He is a visiting fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and author of the Vocal Behavior section in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Handbook of Bird Biology.

Donald’s knowledge of bird songs is perhaps only exceeded by his writing style. He has a unique ability to convey his knowledge and experience in an easy-to-read and informative manner.

Donald worked closely with the Lab’s scientists and technicians on the selection of the songs used in the books.

The songs

The bird songs are from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library. The song of each species was carefully selected from 1000s of available recordings, with special attention paid to the songs clarity and vibrance.

–Mary Guthrie, the Lab’s Director of Marketing, managed the business side of the project on the Lab’s end.

–Greg Budney (curator of sounds at the Macaulay Library) worked closely with Donald Kroodsma in the selection and editing of the bird songs.

The publisher

The books are being published by Chronicle Books. Great care has been taken to ensure excellence in audio quality.

Additional information is available on the Chronicle Books web site (see below).

Supporting the Lab’s Mission

The Lab’s participation in the development of the two, new books helps support the Lab’s mission.

Licensing of the songs provides financial support for the Lab’s research and educational programs. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a self-funded, member-supported organization and licensing of materials is an important revenue resource.

The songs and beautiful stories in the book support our role in education and in interpreting the behavior of some of the earth’s most interesting creatures.


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 5) Chronicle Books

Chronicle logo

The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Eastern and Central North America

The publisher’s website for the Eastern Guide

The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Western North America

The publisher’s website for the Western Guide

Get to know birds by ear with this engaging, one-of-a-kind book. Discover seventy-five unique species from Western North America as you enjoy their sounds at the touch of a button-reproduced in high quality on the attached digital audio module-while reading vivid descriptions of their songs, calls, and related behaviors. Learn how to pick out the wavering songs of a young Bewick’s Wren, or find out why many songbirds have dialects that vary from region to region. Complete with up-to-date range maps and more than 130 sounds provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s world-renowned Macaulay Library, as well as exquisite illustrations of each species, The Backyard Birdsong Guide will resonate with beginners and experts alike.

Donald Kroodsma is currently a visiting fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He has studied birdsong for more than 40 years and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit institution located in Ithaca, New York. Its mission is to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education and citizen science.

(Author’s note: As the website says in small print, “This title is not available.” It’s a best kept secret as to why Chronicle stopped printing this book when it was topping their sales charts.)