The richness and variety of birdsong is both a scientific mystery and a source of wonder. David Rothenberg has a unique approach to this fascinating subject - a musician and a philosopher, he is not satisfied with the conventional wisdom. Combining the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form, he questions whether the standard explanations of territoriality or sexual selection account for so many species' astonishing inventiveness and devotion to singing? Could birds in fact sing just because they like to? Whether playing the clarinet with the white-crested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg touches the heart and soul of birdsong.
David Rothenberg is Professor of Philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His work has been profiled on NPR and the BBC, and he has written for The Nation, Sierra and BBC Wildlife. A composer and jazz clarinetist, he lives in Cold Spring, New York.