Kroodsma, Donald E.
KROODSMA, Donald E.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Hope College, B.A., 1968; Oregon State University, Ph.D., 1972; Rockefeller University, postdoctoral research and study, 1972–74.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Biology, 221 Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Ornithologist, writer, and educator. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, professor of biology; now emeritus.
MEMBER: Association of Field Ornithologists (secretary, 2004–05).
AWARDS, HONORS: Elliott Coues Award, American Ornithologists' Union, 2003, for recognition as "reigning authority on the biology of avian vocal behavior."
(Editor, with Edward H. Miller and Henri Ouellet) Acoustic Communication in Birds, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1982.
(Editor, with Edward H. Miller) Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, Comstock (Ithaca, NY), 1996.
The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong, drawings by Nancy Haver, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Has written numerous academic articles for journals, including American Zoologist, Animal Behavior, and Condor.
SIDELIGHTS: Donald E. Kroodsma is a preeminent expert on birdsong whose studies focus on the diversity and evolution of their vocal behaviors. For his first book, Kroodsma served as a coeditor with Edward H. Miller of Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, which Ecology contributor Douglas A. Nelson noted "quickly became the definitive reference in the field." Kroodsma shared editorial duties with Miller again for their book Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, for which they invited thirty-nine authors to provide essays on their various areas of interest. As Nelson noted, "this multi-authored approach has the virtue of providing individual perspectives on common themes, but at the expense of some redundancy and gaps in coverage." Nevertheless, the reviewer also wrote, "I found especially rewarding Kroodsma's chapter on the ecology of vocal development." Scott MacDougall-Shackleton, writing in the Wilson Bulletin, noted that the book "will undoubtedly be a benchmark for the next decade in the study of the ecology and evolution of acoustic communication in birds." Ron Weisman remarked in the Quarterly Review of Biology that Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds "is full of important findings about bird song." Weisman went on to note that while the book contains some "dogmatic pronouncements," "do not be put off by the superficial flaws. Buy the book and learn from it."
Kroodsma distills the knowledge from his years of studying birdsongs and vocalizations into his book The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong. The book includes illustrations, a CD-ROM featuring birdsongs, and a series of sonograms (or song graphs) that diagram song patterns. Kroodsma discusses topics such as how bird species acquire their song and a songs' purposes, as well as what makes a song unique. He also includes information on equipment and techniques for recording bird songs. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Kroodsma is a warm, encouraging guide to the world of birdsong, and his enthusiasm is contagious." Henry T. Armistead, writing in Library Journal, commented readers "will find engaging answers in this authoritative and entertaining book on bird vocalizations."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Ecology, July, 1997, Douglas A. Nelson, review of Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, p. 1611.
Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Henry T. Armistead, review of The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong, p. 108.
Natural History, September, 1983, review of Acoustic Communication in Birds, p. 98.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2005, review of The Singing Life of Birds, p. 167.
Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 1997, Ron Weisman, review of Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, p. 500.
Wilson Bulletin, December, 1997, Scott MacDougall-Shackleton, review of Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds, p. 760.
Association of Field Ornithologists Web Site, http://www.afonet.org/ (June 1, 2005), "Donald E. Kroodsma."
University of Massachusetts Web Site, http://www.umass.edu/ (June 1, 2005), "Donald E. Kroodsma."