The Living Bird Book is Out!


My first major photography book project, created for the 100 year anniversary of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is now available wherever books are sold!

The Living Bird features original essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Jared DiamondJohn W. Fitzpatrick, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, and Scott Weidensaul, and more than 250 of my images, illustrating more than 100 North American bird species.

From the press release:

Since 1915, Ithaca, NY-based Cornell Lab of Ornithology has researched the lives of birds, educating the public and striving for protection of species and habitat. But the Lab does more than just study. It celebrates birds through song and image, and connects people to birds, opening thousands of eyes to the natural world around us.

An intimate exploration of North American species, the new hardcover The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature shares our joyful and complex relationship with birds. Through imagery and original essays, award-winning photographer Gerrit Vyn, along with leading naturalists and bird enthusiasts, takes readers on a visual and experiential journey, revealing the essence of the century-long work done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Ushering readers into the foreword, Barbara Kingsolver remembers herself as a reluctant birder until, years later, she exalts in a special birding trip with her father. From this lyrical beginning, naturalist Scott Weidensaul then dives into the details of the secret lives of birds: How do flocks of birds manage to migrate thousands of miles? What determines who mates with whom? And what is the purpose of all those pretty feathers and glorious melodies? In her essay, Lyanda Lynn Haupt finds inspiration in our everyday birds as they connect us to the natural world, and she describes how citizen science-sharing daily observations has enriched her own understanding of everything around us. Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology John W. Fitzpatrick considers the threats birds face today, and both the failures and successes of the past. While too many species have been driven to extinction, others have made remarkable recoveries thanks to human action. Jared Diamond underscores that it is in our hands to preserve the living birds around us.

Throughout, Vyn’s remarkable photographs of birds, both familiar and exotic, bring the exhilaration of migratory Whooping Cranes, the fragility of the endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, and the wide-eyed beauty of Great Horned Owls alive on the page. From enjoying Black-capped Chickadees or Yellow Warblers in a backyard birdbath to spotting a Pileated Woodpecker in the woods to admiring the powerful soar of a Gyrfalcon, the appeal of watching and listening to birds leads us into a greater understanding of their environment—and of ours.


The birds sang us back to life, back to belief in seeds and forests, mating and profligacy, and surely some kind of green, full-throated future.” –from the Foreword


208 pages * 10 ¾ x 9 ½ * 250 color photographs * $29.95 * ISBN 978-1-59485-965-6

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