Adirondack spruce bog at dusk © Lang Elliott
Last week, I went on a brief trip to the Adirondack Mountains with my recording buddy Beth Bannister. While our primary purpose was to visit a friend who is ill, we also planned to camp in several remote wild areas, in hopes of capturing engaging soundscapes.

Late summer is a quiet time in the north woods, so our expectations were low. Over the course of our trip, we camped at three different locations, setting out multiple microphones at dusk and then letting them run through the night. For the most part, the results were disappointing, with very little happening at night (other than cricket trills and chirps) or at dawn (other than spurious bird calls and red squirrel chatter). Recording-wise, our trip seemed destined to be almost a complete bust, but then something wonderful happened on the last night of our journey …

On the advice of friends who live in the Adirondacks, we set up camp near Helldiver Pond, deep in the Moose River Plains about ten miles south of Inlet (see map below). I placed one mic at the edge of the pond, another next to a nearby stream and a third one in deep forest. That night, we slept soundly, unaware of any significant “sound events.” In the morning, feeling rather discouraged, we quickly broke camp, gathered up the mics and then drove home.

That afternoon in my studio, I surveyed the results of the previous night. I found nothing of significance at the forest and stream locations, but when I viewed my Helldiver Pond recording using special sound editing software, I noticed some loud signals at around 1am, and I quickly zoomed-in for a better look. And what a delightful surprise! In the middle of the night, my mic had captured a stunning Coyote concert, by far my best from the Adirondack region. Hallelujah … the sweet taste of success!

Note: The recording featured in the video below is “3D binaural soundscape”. Please wear headphones for a spacious and immersive listening experience.

Coyotes sounding off in the middle of the night at Helldiver Pond in the Adirondack Mountains near Inlet, New York. 1 am, 24 August 2021. © Lang Elliott.

Helldiver Pond

Helldiver Pond
Moose River Rd, Inlet, NY 13360, USA
Direction

What I like most about this recording is the way it unfolds, with sporadic frog and water sounds followed by a single coyote giving a series of five mournful, drawn-out howls, very wolf-like in character. A listener might conclude it is a loner, perhaps in search of its pack. But then, after about thirty seconds, several other coyotes join in with excited, higher-pitched wavering calls and yappy barks, with occasional overlapping howls (a pattern very typical of coyotes). Finally, the coyote performance comes to a close, with a drawn-out echo (reverberation tail) that extends to the far reaches of the pond.

At the very end, one is treated to the nearby chuckles of two green frogs followed by a watery plink and soft plunk, which come from the pond’s edge only several feet away. And let’s not forget the crickets, trilling and chirping throughout in the background. Such a pleasing combination of sounds, with great reverberation, a wide sound stage, and striking depth from near to far.

So, my fair listeners, I’m curious as to what you think of this recording from the Adirondack wilds. So please join in the conversation by leaving your comment below.

Naturally Yours,

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George Casselberry
George Casselberry
1 month ago

Wow! That is an incredible recording! I have several of your recordings in my CD collection. This has to be one of the greatest recordings of coyotes I have ever heard. I live on a 53 acre farm in Western Pennsylvania and my family and I have heard coyotes from time to time near our house mostly around 3am, but never this spectacular. I was able to hear the calls of a warm male Carolina Ground Cricket in your background. Thanks for the work you do! ~George

Beth Bannister
Beth Bannister
1 month ago

I love this!!! Wish I were there! Or, should I say, wish I were awake to hear it.

Lynne
Lynne
2 months ago

Wonderful-Thank you for sharing this.

Susan
Susan
2 months ago

That recording of the coyotes was great

Lisa Blanton
Lisa Blanton
2 months ago

This is thrilling, Lang! Coyotes & wolves are such vocal creatures. I’ll be sure to share this recording with my young music students. What a special area you live in. Should like to visit sometime. Happy Labor Day to you!

Martin Winfield
2 months ago

Perseverance pays off! In this case you’ve got a great recording to show for it, and the close-up frogs & cricket backdrop gives a wonderful sense of scale to the distant calls of the coyotes. I would love to hear more of the hypnotic cricket chorus at the beginning, to be lulled into it and then suddenly, from nowhere, hear the coyotes strike up.

Dave Kandz
Dave Kandz
2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this wonderful recording! Here in Pinellas County Florida we really can’t record anything because of ever-present traffic noise, although we do have some wonderful Eastern Narrowmouth Toads that are fun to listen to! BAAAAAaaahhhhhh…….sound like sheep!

Colin Hunter
2 months ago

Fantastic recording Lang, and such a great example of how field recording of course requires skilled field work, but equally requires persistence, patience and luck! I love how the Coyote calls frantically rise up then stop so dramatically, leaving a lovely reverberation through the forest. Gorgeous capture!

Bt bell
Bt bell
2 months ago

Wow! I really did think it was a wolf at first. What a beautiful symphony. Thank you for these wonders.

Deb
Deb
2 months ago

Wow, that was amazing! That far exceeds anything we are privy to here in the foothills of the White Mountains. It was quite haunting!

Susan Roland
Susan Roland
2 months ago

Beautiful wild sounds.
We hear coyotes in the Pacific Northwest in the woods in the back of our house. It’s beautiful when the owls start conversing back and forth.

Bt bell
Bt bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Susan Roland

I love when the owls communicate too.

Geri Vistein
Geri Vistein
2 months ago

I love it! Coyote music makes the landscape feel so real, so magical, so wondrous! Thank you! Lang, would you give me permission once again to use this for my work as a biologist in Maine. I always attribute it to you!

Geri Vistein
Geri Vistein
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

In much gratitude, Lang!

Betsy Janeway
Betsy Janeway
2 months ago

Fabulous recording! I sleep on a screened porch in New Hampshire, and hear “my” coytes often. I think I will play your recording back to them and see what happens! BC Janeway, Webster, NH

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Janeway

Let me know if your locals launch a full-fledged attack and what the aftermath looks like.

Richard
Richard
2 months ago

Awesome recording! Thanks so much for letting us into your Sound World!

Elmer
Elmer
2 months ago

Wow, that’s really neat but quite eerie as well. If I heard that out there at night it would give me the chills. I like the way it starts off with an insect sound and maybe a fish or a frog and then the startling howl.

Bruce A Morrison
Bruce A Morrison
2 months ago

I’d say “Holy Smokes!!!” Awesome to say the least. We have Coyotes here and they do carry on just as yours did but we’re out on the prairie/farm land and the acoustics here lack your location’s…the area of wilderness that served as your location, as well as your mic/equipment placement created a not to be equaled result. Wonderful!

Lang Elliott
2 months ago

The landscape is rather flat at Helldiver Pond. While the reverberation was nonetheless pronounced (and I love the reverb tail at the end that extends to the far end of the pond), it would have been great to have some nearby hills providing delayed echoes, such as those often heard when loons sound off in northern lakes.

Cheryl
Cheryl
2 months ago

This is an amazing capture! Love it!

Laura Gooch
Laura Gooch
2 months ago

Wow, what a chorus! I did some recording at and near Helldiver Pond early last June. Lincoln’s Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher were the main standouts (along with the black fly chorus). Interestingly, I caught the White-throated Sparrows singing both doublet and triplet songs (different individuals, I believe). I also caught some very strange Black-capped Chickadee song. I had never been to that area before, and it was lovely.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Laura Gooch

Yes, quite a beautiful spot. I plan to go back later this autumn to check out some other ponds in that general area. I’ve found some promising spots on google maps, but I don’t know how good those “secondary” roads are.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Laura Gooch

“My Cana, sweet Cana Cana Cana”? Or some other doublet pattern?

Eliza
Eliza
2 months ago

Even though it sometimes gives me goosebumps, I love hearing a pack of coyotes call at night. We sometimes get them quite close by. Glad you were able to get a viable sound clip from your trip!

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Eliza

The only other recording I got of significance is an impressive “flyby” of what I think is a spruce grouse. It suddenly takes flight from maybe twenty feet away to one side and flutters right by my mic before landing in the opposite direction. I have a friend who I think will know if it is indeed a spruce grouse (as opposed to a ruffed grouse). Spruce grouse are rare in the Adirondacks, but I have been told that a number have been released in recent years, in the exact area where I got the recording.

Last edited 2 months ago by Lang Elliott
NormL
NormL
2 months ago

Hi, thanks for including the live spectrogram. Very cool addition. I have been trying to figure out what the repeating horizontal “tuning forks” are at 7-8 kHz and the overtone at 15 kHz and this tested the limits of my high freq. hearing. With effort I think I can hear tick, tick, tick, long buzz (before coyote wails) so it must be a meadow katydid. Short-winged? Thanks for this! Makes me want to get out and start recording again. Norm L in Mass.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  NormL

Norm: Tomorrow morn, I’ll take a closer look at the recording in my editing software and then get back to about what insects are sounding off.

Cassandra
Cassandra
2 months ago

startling chorus. I would be wide eyed clutching my bag or mate, stifling giggles of amazement and fear.
I want to see them. Are they on their hind legs ? Dancing around a kill? Or just reveling in ecstatic bliss?
WOW beautiful so potent.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Cassandra

I prefer the “ecstatic bliss” explanation (being a poet at heart), and I imagine them dancing around one another as their voices join.

Lynne
Lynne
2 months ago

Not a bird, but very interesting!

Rosanna Giallombardo
Rosanna Giallombardo
2 months ago

Hello Lang, I’m going to the beautiful Adirondacks this coming weekend. As always, I will have my ears open for the wonderful sounds of nature!

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Rosanna Giallombardo
Rosanna Giallombardo
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Thank you for the tip Lang

491420E9-3481-464C-BAF0-0C779F869EC7.jpeg
Carole
Carole
2 months ago

Thank you for the much needed trip to the woods.

Karen Smith
Karen Smith
2 months ago

Hi Lang, I’ve always missed out on the ultimate listening experience as I do not have headphones. What do you recommend getting that are reasonable in price to give me the best experience you describe?

Karen Smith
Karen Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Thank you so very much for your thorough reply. I appreciate you listing possible sources for this equipment.

Sherry
Sherry
2 months ago

I loved hearing this song of New York coyotes. We have some in Charlotte, NC but I’ve never heard a song of so many, or even the song of one. What was all the sound at the end? Much less individual, one voice atop the other?

FINTAN O BRIEN
2 months ago

A wonderful recording, so majestic. Short but very good. I wonder what db level did the peak come in at ? There is quite a lot of low rumble, how close was the town ? Thanks for posting, it has made my evening because I always like hearing your recordings. 

Luane Clark
Luane Clark
2 months ago

My dog barked and howled frantically while I played this, and my cats all ran for cover.

Trudy Gerlach
Trudy Gerlach
2 months ago

Marvelous sounds!!

Betsy Thomas
Betsy Thomas
2 months ago

I loved it! Kind of makes your skin crawl just a little.

Ruth
Ruth
2 months ago

Beautiful, Lang! I love the watery sounds, maybe frog movements, framing the concert on both ends. A work of multispecific art. Ruth

Dan Dugan
2 months ago

Wow! Fantastic catch. The expedition proves the principle that if you don’t set up recording, you won’t get anything. Persistence is key. Love the web presentation, too. Looks like iZotope Rx? Can you teach me how to make a playable clip like that?

Dan Dugan
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

April and May is my recording season. I did seven locations, Presidio of San Francisco, Big Sur, four places in Yosemite, and Joshua Tree. Three locations with four-channel, and four with quad plus stereo height mics.

j Drogseth
j Drogseth
2 months ago

When I married my husband 40years ago and moved to his farm I was frightened to death the first time I heard the neighborhood coyotes. It sounds as if some one is being murdered. Now I love hearing them because I know I still live in the wild. Thanks for what you do.

Catherine Van Der Donckt
Catherine Van Der Donckt
2 months ago

Stunning. So powerfull!

Susan
2 months ago

Excellent! My husband heard it from the other room and thought they were in the yard. They do come around occasionally. He’s mad at me because I laughed at him. Great recording even played off of my phone.

Laura
Laura
2 months ago

Wowie! amazing. I wonder what they were all saying. A very different language, I’d love to understand it. : )

Laura
Laura
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Thank you for the thoughts on this. Now we need the amazing covert nighttime film crew out there with you!

Chris
Chris
2 months ago

This is both beautiful and haunting but I’m a bit confused as you say it starts out with a single “wolf” howling. Is this not a single coyote calling but a wolf with coyotes answering?

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