Saturday, May 18 at 6 p.m. |MN State Community and Technical College
The Joy of Listening
About Don Kroodsma
It was the spring of 1968, my last semester in college, when I became hooked on birds in general, and a few months later on birdsong in particular. In graduate school at Oregon State University, I studied Bewick’s wrens, asking (and answering) primarily one simple question: Where and when and from whom does a young male learn his songs? During a post-doctoral and assistant professor stint I honed my skills as a scientist, learning how to ask questions and obtain answers.
For the next 23 years at the University of Massachusetts, I asked question after question, about wrens and chickadees and warblers and sparrows and flycatchers and almost any bird who sang. Exploring the world of birdsong was exhilarating, and I thrived, but for the spring and summer of 2003, I chose to do something different, to celebrate birdsong across the North American continent, all from the seat of a bicycle (and with my son). I left on this journey as a seriously entrenched tenured professor, my job secure for life; I returned jobless, choosing to retire early so that I could celebrate birdsong full time, and start a new life.
With 45 years of active birdsong research as my guide, I cherish the birdsong of spring and summer more than ever. An excellent day is when I’m out in the predawn darkness, waiting for first light to deliver the dawn chorus, and returning home hours later with a wealth of recorded song for further study. A good day is listening and studying and writing about birdsong at my desk. A bad day has no birdsong in it.
I am a life-long scientist, one who asks questions, seeking answers and increasingly deeper understandings. No longer entrenched at the University, I am eager to share what I have learned and eager to encourage a deeper appreciation of birds and their songs by the tens of millions of others who also treasure birds.
Among Don’s books, his new book LISTEN TO THE BIRDS will be available for purchase. In the book are two walks through several different habitats, each beginning well before sunrise, one in the East and one in the West. Twenty common, charismatic birds are featured on each walk. The book uses augmented reality, so that birds come alive and sing when a phone or tablet is pointed at them.