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Since I consider myself bird song "challenged" (nicer way to  admit absolute inablility to learn or recognize bird songs, chips, calls, whatever)  I am always on the look-out for help.

So when Donald was in the hospital  (bad fall--subcutaneous hematoma--Air-e-vac to University hosp in Columbia 3 days in ICU and 4days in room) and when nothing much seemed to be happening at Eagle Bluff and no Mississippi Kite or Western Kingbird reported, I hot-footed out to Barnes and Noble for stress relief.  And found a really good book.  

BIRDSONG by Don Strap. Scribner 2005.  $24. 

Strap has written a very non-technical report on why and how birds sing and how some actually learn their songs. He writes of the experiments undertaken with our common birds--like black-capped chickadee and Bewick's wren.  He writes of one man's (Kroodsma) studies of how birds actually learn their songs. And much more. Like the 2 Meadowlarks in their overlapping area learn each others song and thus can be identified only by their calls. Like the robin has 100 or more songs, the cardinal 8-12 and the starling 21 to 67. So my intense dislike of the starling has turned to outright like and respect.
Whats not to like about an ugly black  bird that can actually voice maybe 67 songs.

So I feel much better about being so stupid about bird song.

And Donald is in Rehab in Kirksville and will be home in a few days.

Anne Downing
ne Mo, Edina



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