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Coffee-Table Book Features Gorgeous Photos and Essays From Kingsolver, Diamond, and Others

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The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature is a beautiful hardcover book that celebrates the joyful and complex relationship between birds and people. The large format volume weaves together photos by award-winning photographer Gerrit Vyn with essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Jared Diamond, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Scott Weidensaul, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick. It’s published by Mountaineers Books and lists for $29.95.

“The birds sang us back to life, back to belief in seeds and forests, mating and profligacy, and surely some kind of green, full-throated future.”—Barbara Kingsolver, from the Foreword

The more than 250 images capture the ineffable 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.

An excerpt from the book, Gerrit Vyn’s own essay about photographing flamingos at a biosphere reserve in Mexico, is available for free reading.

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.

The Living Bird is available wherever books are sold including Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods which offers free shipping and a 10% discount for Lab members (order by phone at 877-266-4928). The book was made possible by the Kiplinger Foundation and Austin Kiplinger.

Find more about the book, including sneak-peek photos, from publisher Mountaineers Books. Bookstores and retailers may contact Darryl Booker at for information on bulk orders. To arrange appearances and book signings, please contact Emily White, 206-223-6303 x138,

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library