Bret M. Whitney, Theodore A. Parker III, Gregory F. Budney, Charles A. Munn, and Jack W. Bradbury. 2002. Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. $39.95.—This attractive three CD set presents high-quality recordings of the vocalizations for 140 species of parrots found in the Caribbean, Central and South America, representing nearly all the species inhabiting the New World. Even though parrots are celebrated for their abilities to mimic human speech, few ornithologists would be likely to purchase this CD to listen to the sounds of parrots calling in the wild, which are more raucous than melodious. Vocalizations, however, are an important tool in parrot research, particularly for conducting censuses and population surveys, because many species are detected and identified much more readily from calling individuals than from sighted birds. These CDs will be incredibly useful for learning parrot calls by anyone initiating field surveys. In addition to clear recordings, the CDs are accompanied by a 54-page booklet that presents very useful information on field identification of parrots including summaries of flight behavior, flock size, roosting habits, and flight silhouettes by genera. Potential research questions and techniques for making field records of parrot vocalizations are also discussed. In addition to its scholarly value, I expect this work to be an important and useful contribution for those involved in conserving parrots, which are among the most threatened families of birds due primarily to habitat destruction and harvest for the pet trade.
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