Tim Low’s book, Where Song Began continues to attract strong interest. After an international edition was published by Yale University Press, Tim was invited to speak about it at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the leading organisation for the study of birds in the Americas, in upstate New York, in May this year.
He appeared on the ABC Radio National Program Off Track, in a segment that also featured two musicians, Simone Slattery and Anthony Albrecht, who have performed music based on Where Song Began in New York, London, Melbourne and elsewhere. Future performances are listed on their website Where Song Began.
Tim gave a talk about the book to Birds South Australia in April, and in March he spoke at the Wimmera Landcare National Harmony Day in Horsham.
The book received strong praise from Tim Flannery, in a very long review in the The New York Review of Books, which ends with this:
"Where Song Began provides a novel interpretation of Australia's avifauna that will enrich the understanding of anyone interested in birds. As a professional biologist familiar with much of its matter I found myself astonished again and again."
In the March 2017 issue of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, William E. Davis wrote that 'Low is to be congratulated for producing this very idea-rich ecological tapestry. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it very thought provoking."
In December 2016 it was reviewed in Britain's Literary Review, which described it as an “Illuminating and engaging study.”
In a review in BBC Wildlife magazine, leading bird author Jonathan Elphick was very approving: "I discovered revelations in each of these 12 chapters. The book is written by a biologist with a gift for translating complex scientific research into riveting prose.”
In a November review in America's Bird Watcher's Digest it earned this praise:
“Books about ecology and evolutionary biology are rarely so entertaining and engrossing, but Low is a story-teller, and nearly every page offers a compelling, often shocking, story.”
In October it received a recommendation from the editors of Scientific American.
In September the Open Letters Monthly declared it "one of the best works of natural history to appear all year."
Yale obtained strong endorsements for the book from experts in the US and Britain, including the following:
“Tim Low masterfully tells a story not told before. He provides an elegant synthesis of the scientific literature and a panoramic view of how Australia's songbirds originated; the ecological and behavioral forces leading to their uniqueness; and ultimately their far-reaching impacts across the globe.”—Scott Edwards, Harvard University
“On visiting Australia years ago, I struggled to understand bird behaviour I observed. This is the book I needed then, an erudite but accessible insight into why Australia’s birds are ‘different.’”—Robert Prys-Jones, Head of Bird Group, Natural History Museum (London)
The book continues to sell strongly in Australia.
The ABIA summed up Tim's win in these words:
"Biologist and prize-winning writer Tim Low took out General Non Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards on Thursday 21 May 2015 for his intriguing book Where Song Began. Up against the likes of Don Watson, Annabel Crabb and Helen Garner, Tim’s win marks the first time a nature book has won this competitive category."
This is the second major prize for the book. By a margin of hundreds of votes it won the People's Choice Award at the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards earlier that year. The following day the book was shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards, run by Australia's independent booksellers.
Since the book appeared Tim has received invitations to speak at bird festivals and other events all over Australia.
Further details about the book and its reception can be found here.