BOOK REVIEW: Birdsong For The Curious Naturalist: Your Guide to Listening, by Donald Kroodsma

Released just as spring migration is starting, this timely book bringsunderstanding and learning birdsong to a new level. Don Kroodsma is a world-renown authority on birdsong. And apart from understanding it he knows the positive effect of an immersive nature experience. Birdsong For the Curious Naturalist opens with the line “birdsong fills our lives with beauty and wonder.” That should give you the sense this is not just a tutorial to learn birdsong, but also a tool to engage readers to understand and appreciate birdsong at a deeper level. The book promises to give us answers to pretty much all our questions about birdsongsuch as  – why do birds sing? Where do they get their songs and how do they learn them? What do they hear? How many songs do they have? And importantly, what are they and how do I learn to identify them?  If learning more about and understanding birdsong is of interest, then this book will have a lot of appeal.

Each bird has several images for ID, several sounds with a lot of detail and instructions on what to listen for. But what really sets this book apart are the details.

The book offers the possibility to learn birdsong with the author’s prompts to listen for something specific in each sound piece. This amount of detail isn’t for everyone, but for someone intent on learning and retaining birdsong, it may be what you need.


The author also looks at birdsong itself and gives insights into the science and reasons behind birdsong through the calls and sounds of different birds. The book comes with access to a compendium of 75 hours of birdsong accessed either via website, or more easily from reading a QR code with your smartphone which brings you a full view of the bird for identification through image and song.  This makes the book nearly irresistible for anyone wanting to ID birds via song. But the author also wants readers to explore on our own – to become immersed in birdsong and learn to enjoy it for the uplifting qualities a direct and immersive connection with nature naturally brings.


If you have time to finally learn the songs of the birds migrating through or in your area year round, this book might be the tool you are looking for.  Check out Birdsong For the Curious Naturalist on Amazon.