Album of endangered bird songs climbs to #3 on music charts, beating Taylor Swift

An album featuring Australia’s most endangered birds and their calls has sold to number 3 on the national pop chart, beating Taylor Swift and ABBA on their way.

songs of disappearance is a 24 minute album of endangered bird calls recorded by Australia’s premier wildlife recordist, David Stewart. It has sold over 2,000 copies and is a demonstration of the love Australians have for helping their native species – with all proceeds going towards protecting our feathered friends.

Its genesis came as Charles Darwin University conservation professor Stephen Garnett finalized the Australian Birds Action Plan 2020, a set of recommendations that found 1 in 6 native species to be at risk of extinction. He had a conversation with his Ph.D. Student Anthony Albrecht, a classical cellist and one-half of a two-person multimedia company called Bowerbird Collective.

Albrecht asked his advisor if there was anything Bowerbird Collective could do to make people aware of the action plan. At that time they were discussing the idea of ​​an album.

“I knew it was an ambitious proposal and – I don’t know – Stephen is a bit crazy like me and he said let’s do this,” Albrecht tells NPR.

Bowerbird’s other half, violinist Simone Slattery, arranged a musical collage of all 53 birds on the record, while the remaining tracks are each bird’s individual songs, recorded by Stewart.

“We did it! Thanks to your incredible support, we reached #3 on the ARIA charts, ahead of Taylor Swift, ABBA, Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé,” organizers wrote on their website, noting the holiday boost the latter received.

All proceeds from the album were donated to BirdLife Australia, who helped with production.

Some of the song comes from critically endangered birds, and one bird, the night parrot, wasn’t even known to science until 2013.

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“When we last prepared an Australian bird action plan in 2010, we weren’t even sure if night parrots and king island thornbills existed – this CD contains calls to both,” Professor Garnett said in a statement.

Each CD includes a copy of the action plan and a little guide on each bird and how to identify the sound of its calls. The LP is out now internationally so we can all enjoy the sounds and donate to the cause.

“The golden bowerbird sounds like a death ray from a cheesy ’70s sci-fi series,” says Sean Dooley, national public affairs manager at BirdLife Australia.

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“And then you get to the frigate bird of Christmas Island. The male has a flap of skin under his chin that inflates like a giant red balloon. So when it’s making these courtship noises, it sounds bizarre – but looks incredible.”

LISTEN to some of the amazing sounds below…

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