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Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song    by Les Beletsky order for
Bird Songs
by Les Beletsky
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In his foreword, Les Beletsky says that 'of all the different animals, birds are arguably best known for their amazing and varied sounds. Whether it is the wailing laugh of the Common Loon, the bugling of a flock of swans or the long-legged Sandhill Cranes, the honking of a flock of Canada Geese, or the ethereal and haunting songs of the many thrushes, the songs of the birds captivate us'.

With the help of the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Beletsky has created a captivating tribute to 250 of North America's birds, from the common to rarest species. Chapter 1 discusses Seabirds, Shorebirds and Waterbirds, Chapter 2 Forest Birds, Chapter 3 Woodland Birds, and Chapter 4 Open-Country Birds. Four well-known bird or nature artists - Diane Pierce, David Nurney, H. Douglas Pratt and John Sill - lend their talents to the book with beautifully rendered paintings, that are accompanied by a short description of habitat, migration routes, breeding and mating habits, other points of ecology, specific behavior, and what to listen for in each particular bird's unique vocalization. A push of a button on the attached audio player and it's almost like being right in the bird's habitat, seeing and hearing it in action as it challenges interlopers or simply wants to let other birds know it is there.

This book is not only a great reference for the novice or serious bird lover, it would also make an interesting and educational conversation piece on your coffee table or in your den. The audio player is sturdily attached and easily accessible so that as you read about each bird you can simply reach over and set up the player to sing the corresponding birdsong. Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song is a unique and informative reference that will give you and your family hours of enjoyment. One word of caution though - if you have a cat or two around the house they'll definitely want to investigate the strangely alluring bird sounds coming from the top of your coffee table. Mine certainly did!

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