Inhabiting Books's Reviews > The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Eastern and Central North America, A Guide to Listening

The Backyard Birdsong Guide by Donald E. Kroodsma
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's review
May 21, 2011

bookshelves: 2011, my-kids-favorites
Read in May, 2011 — I own a copy

So engagingly written, this book is one of the best book purchases I've made; and it gets used a lot. The pages containing the bird descriptions and their habits are so interesting that you can just sit down and read for hours. The illustrations are exquisite. (I'm not sure, but I think they are the work of many artists.)

And the audio portion is amazing. The speaker does not sound tinny and fake at all. Playing the recorded birdcalls, it sounds like the actual bird is right there in the room. Too cool!

(We have yet to take it outside to use as a lure for the real birds. I'm afraid of harassing the birds by using it outside. We do use it outside to identify birds using the illustrations and descriptions, but not with the audio portion.)

Another use we've found for this marvelous book is when we read about birds in other books, especially picture books. As a read aloud mom, the only time I am stumped (well, besides encountering words in foreign languages with which I am unfamiliar) is when authors write the sounds birds make. I never know if I'm saying it properly. So, to get around that, I always pull down this book and play the actual sound. Even when they don't write the sound, it's still fun to use with stories featuring birds: it takes the experience of reading the book to another level, making it more real.

Can you tell we love it?

The publisher has a website ( you can go to to listen to additional examples, as well as other fun stuff.
And you can go to to listen to an unlimited archive of birdsongs. (Yes, it's free!)

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