Join birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma on a ten-week, ten-state bicycle journey as he travels with his son from the Atlantic to the Pacific, lingering and listening to our continent sing as no one has before. On remote country roads, over terrain vast and spectacular, from dawn to dusk and sometimes through the night, you will gain a deep appreciation for the natural symphony of birdsong many of us take for granted. Come along and marvel at how expressive these creatures are as Kroodsma leads you west across nearly five thousand miles—at a leisurely pace that enables a deep listen.
Listening to a Continent Sing is also a guided tour through the history of a young nation and the geology of an ancient landscape, and an invitation to set aside the bustle of everyday life to follow one's dreams. It is a celebration of flowers and trees, rocks and rivers, mountains and prairies, clouds and sky, headwinds and calm, and of local voices and the people you will meet along the way. It is also the story of a father and son deepening their bond as they travel the slow road together from coast to coast.
Beautifully illustrated throughout with drawings of birds and scenes and featuring QR codes that link to audio birdsong, this poignant and insightful book takes you on a travel adventure unlike any other—accompanied on every leg of your journey by birdsong.
Donald Kroodsma is professor emeritus of ornithology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a world-renowned authority on birdsong. He is the author of The Singing Life of Birds, The Backyard Birdsong Guides, and Birdsong by the Seasons. He lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.
"One of the fascinating aspects of both the book and the recordings is that, while chasing after birdsong, Mr. Kroodsma captures so much other detail as well. Don't miss the pack of mongrels and hounds bellowing the bikers through Dwarf, Ky., or the creaking bicycle saddle accompanying the rich afternoon chorus of a moist deciduous forest on a steep uphill climb in the same state's damp and diverse mountains. Listening to a Continent Sing along with its website, is both an inspiration and a bundle of gifts waiting to be unwrapped."--Julie Zickefoose, Wall Street Journal
"Blurring the lines between travelogue and casual scientific observation, Listening to a Continent Sing recounts their journey and transports the reader into the mind of a scientist renewing his awe of nature through an endearing portrayal of avian vocal communication and behavior. In its refreshing mix of history, linguistics, biology, and ethology, Listening to a Continent Sing brings back the joy and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits that can sometimes wane with time."--Helen J. Barr, Science
"Kroodsma evokes the profound pleasure of rising before dawn to listen to the morning songs of the birds and ending the day with their evening choruses. . . . An informative exploration of the subtleties of bird songs."--Kirkus
"Birdsong maven Donald Kroodsma's travel journal is a welcome addition to the cycling-road-trip genre that began over a century ago. . . . It's the author's knowledge of birdsong . . . that makes this book so delightful."--Natural History
"The story is charming, funny, poignant, and heartwarming. . . . If you are going to treat yourself to one special gift this summer, make it this one!"--Cathy Taibbi, Examiner.com
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