Friday, August 30, 2013

NPR Sound Treks: Birds

My focus on all things birds continues today with a quick review of NPR Sound Treks: Birds, an audiobook adapted from radio instead of print. In this case, the public radio network has harvest some of its best pieces from programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. NPR listeners will recognize some of the reporters, such as Melissa Block, Steve Inskeep, and Renee Montagne, on this enjoyable one-hour, one compact disc program.

I was glad to find three tracks with licensed bird rehabilitator Julie Zickefoose, whom I regard highly after having read her Letters from Eden and The Bluebird Effect. My favorite story in the NPR collection is the final track in which she tells about raising four orphaned hummingbirds. I love the image of her being followed around her backyard by hungry little birds.

Several of the stories involve Chicago, where the lights of skyscrapers are a hazard to night flying birds and invasive species, such as starlings, have chased away natives. Zickefoose tells about rescuing a stunned yellow-throat warbler, and Davis Shaffer tells about Chicago's successful building of houses for purple martins along its Lake Front.

Alaska, Australia, and Guatemala are settings for other stories in this collection, that also features a story about British musician F. Schuyler Mathews who in the 19th century transcribed many songbird songs to sheet music. Bird lovers should definitely seek out NPR Sound Trek: Birds.

NPR Sound Treks: Birds. HighBridge Audio, 2010. ISBN 9781615730605.

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