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The Living Bird - New Book from Cornell, by Gerrit Vyn & Others

A beautiful hardcover book from Cornell, The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature, celebrates the joyful and complex relationship between birds and people. The Living Bird features photos by award-winning photographer and BirdNote board member, Gerrit Vyn. The images are woven together with essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Jared Diamond, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Scott Weidensaul, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick.

More than 250 images capture the beauty, variety, and kaleidoscopic color of birds, while the writers contemplate the meaning and connection that these creatures hold for those of us who stop to look and listen. Vyn’s lens probes beyond the surface, too, capturing birds in moments that reveal their unique poses, behavioral quirks, and attitudes. Here's an excerpt from the book, Gerrit Vyn’s own essay about photographing flamingos at a biosphere reserve in Mexico.

Vyn, a photographer and multimedia producer at the Cornell Lab, took on this project as part of a celebration of the Lab’s centennial. Since its founding in 1915 by Cornell University professor Dr. Arthur Allen, the Lab has championed the unique ability of birds to inspire people to protect nature, as well as to meld the contributions of academics and bird watchers. In the last 100 years, the Lab has emerged as one of the world’s most prestigious and educationally progressive ornithological institutions, as it strives to uphold the legacy set out by Dr. Allen.

BirdNote listeners can buy The Living Bird at a 20% discount from Mountaineers Books. Order it here and use the code NABIRDS.

Learn more about the book in the trailer on

Listen to an interview with Gerrit Vyn and Scott Weidensaul on Terry Gross's Fresh Air.

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