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Lang Elliott

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Erie Thunderstorm

In early June, at the end of my rather frenetic recording expedition, I visited a friend in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, not far from Erie. I spent one night there, sleeping on my friend’s porch and enjoying periods of heavy rain. As usual, I rose early. The rain had stopped, so I headed to a trail in nearby Erie National Wildlife Refuge and recorded birds singing against a pleasant backdrop of drip from the trees …


Twilight Song of the Wood-Pewee

This morning at 4:00am, I arrived at my destination and soon found myself standing quietly in mature hardwood forest, awaiting the first twilight notes from an Eastern Wood-Pewee that I had located the day before. At 4:25am, I heard a single, whistled pee-a-wee from perhaps a hundred feet away. I moved through the woods in the direction of the sound …


Reverberant Robin

While browsing through recordings I gathered in 2011 during an expedition to the Rocky Mountain region, I stumbled across a real jewel. In the foothills of the Grand Tetons near Jackson Lake, Wyoming, I recorded a dawn chorus that features a lone American Robin singing in the distance. The robin’s songs are highly reverberant … a clear demonstration of how a bird’s song becomes married to its environment …



During my recent recording expedition, I spent the night in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. I rose promptly at 4am, jumped into my car, and headed for a favorite location. I had only driven a mile when I suddenly came upon a Whip-poor-will, its eyes shining red in the middle of the dirt road. He flew as I got out of the car, but soon began singing from the surrounding forest. Soon, others joined in …


Barred Owl Reunion

During my recent recording expedition, I spent the night camped next to a lake in the Charles C. Beam Wilderness Area near Maumee, Indiana. At 3am, a Barred Owl began calling nearby and soon another answered in the distance. Then, to my absolute delight, the two met up in the forest and participated in “caterwauling,” an excited exchange of hoots and hollers …


Hermit Thrush and Drip

What could be more relaxing than listening to a Hermit Thrush singing after a rain, with water dripping from the trees? Such an exquisite soundscape, featuring a voice that is at once ethereal, tender, and gently caressing … the voice of solitude, of a shy and hidden bird of secluded forests … O spheral, spheral … O holy, holy …


Mockingbird Nightsong

The Northern Mockingbird is well-known for its habit of singing at night. What most folks do not know is that the night-singers are primarily unmated males, which may sing almost continuously both day and night, especially when the moon is bright, in their quest to locate a mate. As luck would have it, I was able to record such a night singer during a recent visit to Virginia


Zen Frogscape

The night before leaving on a weeklong journey, I drove to Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area to see what the frogs and toads were up to. I really didn’t plan on doing any recording. I just wanted to pay my respects to nature before leaving town. Little did I anticipate the wonderful mix of sound I would stumble upon …


Owl Reverberations

Everyone loves owls. On the night of May 20 with the moon nearly full, I drove to a nearby wildlife refuge in search of Gray Treefrogs. The frogs weren’t calling, but at one stop I was treated to an amazing performance by what I presumed to be a “family” of Barred Owls. How lucky can you get? …


Gentle Peepers & Wood Thrush

Last night I slept under the stars in the forest next to a beautiful pond. At dawn I recorded the calls of Spring Peepers set against the gentle gurgling of water. Then I went exploring and soon came upon a Wood Thrush, singing excitedly as an intermittent breeze passed through the forest canopy. I am so grateful that I spent the night under the stars …

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