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. Scott Weidensaul dives 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. Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology John W. Fitzpatrick considers the threats birds face today, and some of the failuresand successesof the past. Jared Diamond underscores that it is in our hands to preserve the living birds around us.
For 100 years, the Ithaca, NY-based 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.
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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.
Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
"[...] The Living Bird is undoubtedly a coffee table book but one that can be dipped into over and over again. While large it isn't unwieldy and the landscape format allows the larger photos to completely captivate and draw the reader into the world that their avian subjects inhabit. I for one shall enjoy dipping into this book on dark winter nights when the summer visitors have left for warmer climes and the short icy days bring an early close to time spent in the field."
– Justin Walker, BTO book reviews
"[...] The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature presents, through words and images, a simple message: Birds are amazing…They enrich our lives…We need them…They are in trouble…Here’s what you can do. This book is worth buying for the pictures alone – the work of Gerrit Vyn is stunning. But if you take time to read it, you’ll be even more amazed at his subjects. And, hopefully, inspired to help them."
– Grant McCreary (04-11-2015), read the full review at The Birder's Library