Oh Yeah: Bird songs bump stars off Australian music chart

Gang-gang cockatoo
The gang-gang cockatoo, which is listed as vulnerable in the state of Victoria, is featured on the album

An album made up entirely of the tweets and squawks of endangered Australian birds has debuted in the top five of the country’s Aria music charts.

Songs of Disappearance is surpassing the likes of Abba and The Weeknd – not to mention Christmas favourites Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey.

Created by BirdLife Australia, the album features the birdsongs of 53 of Australia’s most threatened species. Some sounds took hours of waiting in the bush to record one short tweet.

David Stewart, a wildlife sound recordist, has spent more than 30 years collecting often rarely heard sounds of Australia’s wildlife. It is his bird recordings that have been used on the album.

When it was released on 3 December, a social media campaign was launched to get the album into Australia’s Aria music sales charts- and it worked. Songs of Disappearance has made history by becoming the first album of its kind to chart in the top five.

Proceeds from the sales will go towards BirdLife Australia’s conservation projects.

“This album is a very special record with some rare recordings of birds that may not survive if we don’t come together to protect them,” BirdLife Australia CEO Paul Sullivan told The Music Network.

“While this campaign is fun, there’s a serious side to what we’re doing, and it’s been heartening to see bird enthusiasts showing governments and businesses that Australians care about these important birds,” he added.

One in six Australian birds are now threatened, according to a study by Charles Darwin University – that is, 216 out of 1,299 species. The study, which included input from more than 300 bird experts, found that climate change was pushing species closer to extinction.

The massive bushfires of 2019 and 2020 devastated their habitat, and BirdLife Australia estimates that the number of threatened bird species has increased by as much as 25%.

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