State Library showcases Western Australian birds in unique sensory exhibit

Monday 06 November 2017
  • Bird Song exhibit offers an interactive, educational experience for children and families
  • Exhibit features John Hutchinson bird call recordings paired with scientific illustrations of WA birds 
  • Free event open from 6 November to 31 January 2018

Bird Song opened today in the Story Place Gallery at the State Library of Western Australia. The exhibit celebrates Western Australia’s extraordinary and varied birdlife in a unique aural and visual exhibit.

Bird Song brings together bird sounds recorded by renowned ornithologist John Hutchinson, with comprehensive scientific illustrations from John Gould’s landmark publication The Birds of Australia, published 1848, and Gregory Macalister Mathews’ work of the same name, published 1910-27.

Visitors to Bird Song will hear sounds of honeyeaters, wedgebills, whipbirds, kookaburras and many other birds from Hutchinson’s work spanning fifty years across remote bushland in Western Australia. The illustration plates seen in Bird Song from Gould’s and Matthews’ publications were created to be accurate enough to use to identify birds. With exquisite form and clarity of colour, the images can be as much appreciated for their artistry and visual appeal as for their original scientific purpose.

CEO and State Librarian, Margaret Allen said that she was delighted the State Library could showcase WA’s birdlife in such an interactive way. “Western Australia has a rich and diverse birdlife. At Bird Song, children and families will be able to experience extraordinary sounds and detailed images of the birds of the bush, in the heart of the city.”

Families are encouraged to experience this playful exploration of Western Australian birdlife, interact with the sound recordings and be amazed by the accuracy and artistry of the bird drawings. The recordings can also be accessed online through the State Library catalogue at

Bird Song runs until Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Last updated on: 27 November 2017