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Birdsong bumps Abba from top-5 on Australian album chart

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An album composed of the songs tweeted, chirped and whistled by some of Australia's most endangered birds has climbed into the top five on the country's album sales chart. "Songs of Disappearance" dislodged the latest offering from Abba to claim the fifth slot on the ARIA album chart for the week of December 13.

The Australian bird calls also beat out Justin Bieber and perennial Christmas favorite Michael Buble, notching a rare victory for some of the country's most vulnerable wildlife.

According to BBC News, the album was composed of recordings made by wildlife sound recordist David Stewart, who has spent three decades gathering the birdsongs — including some that are incredibly difficult to obtain due to the rarity of the species. The songs of 53 of the most seriously threatened birds in Australia are on the album.

When "Songs of Disappearance" was released on December 3, there was a social media campaign to get it into the album chart, which clearly struck a chord with the Australian public.

Help our threatened birds soar into the ARIA charts! Buy this stunning album, released by BirdLife Australia, before December 9. Show the world we won't let these songs be silenced.

Posted by The Bowerbird Collective on Sunday, December 5, 2021

While the campaign hasn't yet mustered its stated goal of booting chart queen Adele from the top spot in the album rankings, it has made history by propelling the collection of animal noises — without a single musical note played by humans — into the top five.

All proceeds from sales of the album will go to fund conservation projects led by the BirdLife Australia organization, which put the recordings together in conjunction with an art syndicate called the Bowerbird Collective.

"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."

According to a survey of Australia's birds carried out every 10 years by Charles Darwin University researcher Professor Stephen Garnett, one in six of the species native to the country is now under threat. The latest iteration of the study, released on the first of December, found that 216 of the country's 1,299 species were threatened, an increase from the 195 found to be vulnerable in the 2011 report.

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The study, formally titled the "Action Plan for Australia's Birds," found that climate change and the severe weather phenomena it fuels, like the brushfires that tore across New South Wales state a year ago, was a key factor in the mounting threat to Australia's birdlife.

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