Birds singing in hardwood forest. 6:30am, 21 May 2016. Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a low volume to simulate a natural listening experience.
There is no end to bad news when it comes to birds. Recent studies show significant decreases in the populations of a number of our neotropical migrants, a major cause being the loss of habitat on their wintering grounds. And then there’s the predicted negative effects of climate change. So much bad news, almost each and every day!
While I certainly do not deny that there is trouble brewing and that we should do something about it, my purpose is not to wave the red flag of impending doom. Rather, my mission is to celebrate that which is good and present in our lives right now. And this morning’s recording does just that! I’ve christened it Abundant Life due to its rich variety of bird sounds. Close your eyes and listen. How many species can you identify?
I obtained this recording purely by chance. I had just picked up my soundscape microphone (which I’d left next to a beaver pond at 4:30am) and was heading back to my car. While walking along the trail through hardwood forest, I heard the plaintive whistle of a wood-pewee – pee-a-wee – and stopped to enjoy it. That’s when I became aware of all the other bird sounds in the air.
Excited by what I was hearing, I quickly set up my mic and hit record. I was able to get about twelve minutes of the mix before a jet thundered over at low altitude, followed a truck rumbling down a nearby road. By the time the noise subsided, a number of the birds had moved farther away, so I didn’t resume my recording.
I am very happy with nature’s gift of the day. As you can hear, there are quite a number of singers, including the following:
No, I wouldn’t classify this as a meditative zen-style recording. But I do consider it an exceptional “celebration of abundance,” of the rich variety of birds that live in our natural surroundings. I am so very grateful to witness this abundance almost daily during the spring and early summer breeding season. How pleasurable to hear so many voices all in one place … my beloved avian musicians singing their joy into the world.
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So refreshing and relaxing. When listening these sounds my mind goes deep in the forests of the mountains I used to explore as a member of University Of Bucharest Student Speleology Club in search of caves during my student years. Hiking with no trails in the middle of nowhere far from civilized world following local shepherds descriptions.
Now I listen these avian musicians telling their stories for hours in the in the background while I work on my computer. Thank you Lang.
Once in a while, always about this time of year, I hear this call that at first almost sounds like a rabbit in distress, or maybe even a baby, but when I get closer to it I realize the call is in a tree. Have never been able to get close enough to see because it only happens at night. It has a bit of a trill to it. Would you know what it is?
My wild guess is Raccoon.
Possibly a young owl (a loud screech)
Or possibly Gray Treefrog (clattering trill)
My favorite. Thank you.
Just love listening to your soundscapes.
Dick: glad to hear you like them!
I turned the volume up and the mourning dove call was echoing. I hear something at 4:51, 5:00 and several times more that has intrigued me. It sounds like ya hoo. What could it be?
I have not heard the peewee here yet.
Thank you again.
Carlene: Yes, there’s lots of natural echo on the Mourning Dove. I think the other musical sound you point out (good ear!) is from a Blue Jay, though I’m not entirely certain.
What a treat this is! Thank you!
Love this so much…thanks Lang!
So beautiful. I have a bird that comes everyday on my balcony to sing. I am enchanted. The bird is all black with a red beak. I don’t know the name.
It is not the climate change, it is the geoengineering, and the chemtrails that kills all the nature beauty.
A black bird with a red beak? Hmmmm …. where do you live Viviane?
I live in Abruzzi Italy.
Love the Issa poem – it sums up so much, so poignantly succinctly! Thanks for finding it and sharing it.
I love Issa’s haiku. He’s more of a favorite than Basho, although you can’t beat this one by Basho:
into ancient pond
Now imagine that!
Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful recordings and for identifying the birds. I find that learning to ID birds on your recordings has greatly improved my field identification skills. Afterall, how often do you hear just one bird singing at a time. The real test is to be able to ID them in a crowd. Keep up the beautiful work. It is appreciated.
Well said Kathleen. I struggle with it myself, especially due to my high frequency hearing loss. By all normal standards, I should not be doing the work that I’m doing. A half-deaf bird song expert? Not possible. I’m more of a nature soundscape minstrel our poet, I suppose, sharing what nature gives me.
Only birds sing the music of heaven in this world.
– haiku by Kobayashi Issa
NOTE: I just added this quote to the main body of text!
One of the birds has a whistle that sounds like a human calling his dog 🙂 Loved it!
Thank you Lang for the gift of birds 🙂
Rose Ann: Might you be referring to the plaintive, whistled pee-a-wee of the Eastern Wood-Pewee?
Yes Lang, the flycatcher bird is exactly the one. . .pee-a-wee . . . sooo sweet.
I’m just a beginner, but I’m learning thanks to you.
Thank you for another beautiful celebration of our natural world! The pewee just fills me with that most healthy emotion, gratitude! Red-bellied woodpecker at 1:32 and 2:40? Not sure; really need to brush up on my ID by ear skills. Hope the rest of your day is as wonderful as this visit to the woods!
Marilyn: I don’t hear the Red-bellied. Are you hearing the call, or the drum?
Hmmm. The call. Maybe a Downy? Pitiful that I am not distinguishing between the two…too much time indoors this spring.
I’ll take a closer look tomorrow when I’m back in my studio. It’s probably a high-pitched call I’m not hearing.
Thank you for the “Abundant Life” recording. Very alive with the songs of so many birds!
Once, my sister put one of your recordings on, opened the window in her room, and played the recording of bird songs very loud. She said in just a few minutes, the tree outside her window had so many birds in it, never had she seen so many! She said “Play it, and they will come”! She got such a kick out of that.
reminds me of that baseball movie starring Kevin Costner … I think the saying was “build it and they will come”.
Me too, Lang. My sister is battling cancer right now, and this is for sure… that day the birds showed up in her tree because she played your recording was a grand and happy day for her. What you do affects more people than you know in ways that you may not know. It’s all good!!
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story about your sister, Ellen. Heaven is singing for her struggles – right here in the form of her neighborhood birds responding to Lang’s birds!
I agree with you, and thank you.
Sometimes things happen that we don’t understand. I have always believed that all nature sings to heaven every hour and maybe nature sings, moves, and speaks the language of Heaven. A language we don’t know, but nature does. Her having that recording of Lang’s, the birds heeding the call, that was meant to be. I really believe that.
Beautiful woodland chorus, Lang. I look forward to your lovely recordings every day.
You’re lucky. I used to hear that too, until a housing development went up, taking away the woods.