A Wing and a Prayer: The Race To Save Our Vanishing Birds

S. & S. Audio. Apr. 2023. 9:03 hrs. ISBN 9781797158631. $19.99. SCI
In this riveting debut, journalists and bird conservationists Anders and Beverly Gyllenhaal unpack their research, asking why there is such a high rate of bird loss each year and exploring what can be done to stop this alarming trend. This outstanding production is thoughtfully performed by skilled narrators Cassandra Campbell and Stephen Graybill. The sound of songbirds during the production’s introduction sets the tone, as Campbell and Graybill present alternating chapters and give voice to Beverly and Anders. Well-matched, both narrators excel in vocally expressing compassion for their topic and sharing specific examples of birds currently threatened or headed for extinction because of agricultural expansion, habitat loss, encroachment of people into habitats, use of pesticides, and disease. While smoldering anger can be detected, glimmers of hope are present as well, as the duo present ideas being tested by scientists and offer practical suggestions for nature lovers and naturalists hoping to help save these threatened creatures. As an audio plus, Campbell admirably imitates bird calls within the text.
VERDICT An upsetting but ultimately hopeful look at how citizen scientists can effect positive change in the natural world.
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