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Twitters gone viral: album of endangered bird songs charts in Australia

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For most of December, Adele had the top selling album in Australia, followed by Ed Sheeran, and then there was this collection of absolute bangers.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRDS CHIRPING)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

"Songs Of Disappearance" - it's an entire album of calls from endangered Australian birds. Last month, it briefly perched at No. 3 on the country's top 50 albums chart.

ANTHONY ALBRECHT: Ahead of Taylor Swift - so that's a really good feeling (laughter).

KELLY: That is Anthony Albrecht, who produced the album with his arts organization, the Bowerbird Collective. He's a musician, also a Ph.D. candidate at Charles Darwin University, where his adviser is professor Stephen Garnett.

ALBRECHT: I knew it was an ambitious thing to suggest and - I don't know. Stephen's a little bit crazy like me, and he said, let's do this.

CORNISH: "Songs Of Disappearance" was released with a university report that found 1 in 6 Australian bird species are now threatened. Fifty-three of those species are captured on the album.

KELLY: Now, some sing what you might think of as bird songs, but not all of them. Sean Dooley represents the conservation organization BirdLife Australia.

SEAN DOOLEY: So things like the golden bowerbird - it sounds like a death ray from some cheesy '70s sci-fi series.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOLDEN BOWERBIRD CALLING)

DOOLEY: And then you get to the Christmas Island frigatebird, which the male, it has a flap of skin under its chin that it inflates like a giant red balloon. And so when it's doing these courtship sounds, it looks incredible as well as sounds bizarre.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRISTMAS ISLAND FRIGATEBIRD CALLING)

DOOLEY: And then there's the Christmas Island imperial pigeon. And when people hear that imperial pigeon, they swear that it's a human making silly noises. They're quite magnificently ridiculous.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRISTMAS ISLAND IMPERIAL PIGEON CALLING)

KELLY: Proceeds from album sales directly benefit Birdlife Australia, and spokesman Sean Dooley says the increased awareness can make a difference.

DOOLEY: When we have community on board, that brings pressure on board to government to do the right thing. And we know that these conservation actions do work.

CORNISH: The Charles Darwin University and BirdLife Australia report does document successes in protecting endangered birds, the hope being that these tweets go viral, more species could be saved. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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