Endangered Birds Song charts album in Australia: NPR

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Songs of disappearance is a collection of bird calls from 53 endangered Australian species. And for a brief moment, it was a hit album.



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For most of December Adele had the best-selling album in Australia, followed by Ed Sheeran, and then there was this collection of absolute bangers.

(EXTRACT FROM THE BIRD FLAG)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

“Songs Of Disappearance” – this is an entire album of calls from endangered Australian birds. Last month, it briefly perched at No. 3 of the nation’s top 50 albums.

ANTHONY ALBRECHT: In front of Taylor Swift, so it’s a really good feeling (laughs).

KELLY: This is Anthony Albrecht, who produced the album with his artistic organization, the Bowerbird Collective. He’s a musician, also a doctorate. candidate at Charles Darwin University, where its advisor is Professor Stephen Garnett.

ALBRECHT: I knew that was an ambitious thing to suggest and – I don’t know. Stephen is kinda crazy like me, and he said let’s do this.

CORNISH: “Songs Of Disappearance” was published with an academic report that 1 in 6 Australian bird species are now threatened. Fifty-three of these species are captured on the album.

KELLY: Now some sing what you might think of as birdsong, but not all. Sean Dooley represents the BirdLife Australia conservation organization.

SEAN DOOLEY: So things like the Golden Bird – it looks like a death ray from a cheesy ’70s sci-fi series.

(EXTRACT FROM GOLDEN BOWERBIRD CALL)

DOOLEY And then you come to the Christmas Island frigate, the male of which has a rag of skin under his chin that he inflates like a giant red balloon. And so when he does those courtship sounds, it looks amazing as well as it sounds weird.

(SOUND EXTRACT FROM THE CALL OF FRIGATEBIRD FROM NOL ISLAND)

DOOLEY And then there’s the Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon. And when people hear this imperial pigeon, they swear it’s a human making stupid noises. They are beautifully ridiculous.

(SOUND EXTRACT FROM THE CALL OF THE IMPERIAL PIGEON FROM NOL ISLAND)

KELLY: Proceeds from album sales directly benefit Birdlife Australia, and spokesperson Sean Dooley said increased awareness can make a difference.

DOOLEY When we have the community on board, it puts pressure on the government to do the right thing. And we know these conservation actions are working.

CORNISH: The report from Charles Darwin University and BirdLife Australia documents successes in protecting endangered birds, with the hope that these tweets go viral more species could be saved.

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