The Birds They Sang

Birds and People in Life and Art

Stanisław Łubieński

Birds have inspired people since the dawn of time. They are the notes behind Mozart’s genius, the colours behind Audubon’s art and ballet’s swansong.

In The Birds They Sang, Stanisław Łubieński sheds light on some of history’s most meaningful bird and human interactions, from historical bird watchers in a German POW camp, to Billy and Kes in A Kestral for a Knave. He muses on what exactly Hitchcock’s birds had in mind and reveals the true story behind the real James Bond. Undiscouraged by damp, discomfort and a reed bunting’s curse, Łubieński bears witness to the difficulties birds face today, as people fail to accommodate them in rapidly changing times.

A soaring exploration of our fascination with birds, The Birds They Sang opens a vast realm of astonishing sounds, colours and meanings – a complete world in which we humans are never alone.

About the Author

Stanisław Łubieński first began observing birds in childhood through soviet binoculars. Later, Łubieński took his hobby to a more serious level with trips to Hungary, Scandinavia and the Danube delta. A contributor to different newspapers and magazines, he is also a co-author of a series of films about the life of migrants in Poland. The Birds They Sang is his first work translated in English. It won the readers’ vote for the Nike award 2017, Poland’s most prestigious literary prize, and was shortlisted for the Polityka Passport 2016 and the Gdynia Prize in 2017. He lives in Warsaw.