Barred Owls, stream trickle, and distant frog chorus. 3am, 31 May 2016, Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area near Maumee, Indiana. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a moderate to low volume to simulate a natural listening experience.
During my recent recording expedition, I spent the night in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area near Maumee Ohio. I camped along an inlet stream about a hundred feet from a large lake (pictured above). I set my mic near a small riffle in the stream and fell asleep.
At 3am in the morning, I awakened to the hoots of a Barred Owl, set against the distant chorus of bullfrogs and green frogs sounding off from a swampy portion of the lake. I started recording and crossed my fingers. At first, the owl gave several down-slurred hooo-aw calls. Then it switched to the classic who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you’all. After several minutes, and to my absolute delight, another began answering in the distance. I was quite pleased, lying there in my tent not daring to move for fear my mic would pick up the noise.
And then things got even more exciting. The distant owl flew closer and was met by the other. An excited outburst ensued, a vocal performance termed “caterwauling,” in which two or more individuals (probably a mated pair in this case) participate in quite a noisy exchange of hoots and hollers … a “vocal reunion” of sorts, which I believe to be a animated celebration of family life. How could they not be having fun?
This was a high point in my journey. I was thrilled to capture such a nice mix. I even believe I have a “thing” going on with Barred Owls. They seem attracted to me. No need to “hoot them in” by imitating their calls. All I need to do is camp out in likely habitat and wait patiently for their appearance.
Do you like this soundscape? For me, it is supremely dimensional and engaging, yet has a meditative quality. Such a lovely, immersive mix of owl, frog, and water sounds … with emphasis on the owls of course (they’re loud, but not too loud). I doubt that I could orchestrate a nicer soundscape that features the caterwauling of a pair.
p.s. listen closely at the end and you’ll hear several howls from a distant coyote.
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This is just delightful. Soothing to the soul.
I have a barred owl friend. She is wild..yet tame..my interactions and videos can be seen on Facebook. John Holt in knoxville, Tn.
Have you thought of marketing your recordings to film and TV? I’m a songwriter and licensing fees from sync use is far more lucrative than YouTube use. You might also partner with a solo instrumentalist to create tracks to market. The sounds are so evocative . sometimes they only need a short clip.
This recording is wonderful! The comforting-yet-solitary-soberness of the owl’s calls were so contrasted by the excited and exuberant “hey, there you are!” of their reunion!
My latest recording session of frogs had a few birds and a few Barred owl calls. You might find this book interesting, Captivology by Ben Parr. The gentle sounds of the flowing water really added to your soundscape. I feel so alive when recording in the woods or wetlands in particular late at night becoming one with the environment as the bugs swarm around you.
Thanks Dick … looks like a very interesting book. I think I’ll order it! And I’m impressed by your homemade shockmount!
This is a fabulous wilderness soundscape and the coyotes at the end are like frosting on the cake! (would love to hear more recordings of coyote families, too!) Maybe Barred Owls are your totem? I find it interesting to pay attention to repeated and unusual encounters with specific animals. The kind that makes one pause and wonder more about it… I have a little book I keep in my backpack called the Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews. It’s entertaining and a comfort at times regarding animal encounters, a bit like an animal horoscope. Here’s the abbreviated meaning in it… Read more »
Susan: As much as I love Barred Owls, I sure would like a little better luck with Great Horned Owls. But they don’t call as much and certainly don’t have the family reunion outbursts. I hear Great Horneds occasionally from later winter into spring, then nothing …
I hear you Lang (excuse the pun…) I have only seen a few GHO’s in the wild myself and that is rare, but have never heard one calling. Hope you have a recordable encounter with one soon because then we will all get to hear it! Thank you for sharing these amazing recordings. With all the excess peripheral noise that seems to surround us these days (road traffic, jets, construction, mowers, leaf blowers, etc.) your clean recordings are like an oasis for the ears.
I wish my recordings were entirely clean, but most are interrupted by the roar of jets or cars. When necessary, I remove those sections. See the attached sonogram of my 20-minute encounter with a mockingbird in Virginia. In spite of six major interruptions, I managed to salvage 7 pristine minutes.
Barred Owls are a sacred bird for me, as they spoke & lulled me to sleep at my birth home woods in Illinois. Several years ago, before I moved from those woods forever, a visiting Anishnaabe medicine man & his wife accepted the request to pray for the woods & creek, as they were being trampled by atvs. As we stood on a hill looking over the troubled water, the healer began praying in his ancient language. The moment he began the prayer, two barred owls joined him in their own fervent tongue, cackling along with the Ojibwa prayer. This… Read more »
Salwag: What a wonderful story!
So cool! Thanks for sharing that wondrous incident!
Noctua de senén barreiro en you tube y facebook ornitomúsica.saludos Lang.
you captured the barred owl. all these haunting 8-syllable calls i heard while living on keese mills road. first seemed like sound bouncing off the mountains, but then oh man, listen to them go!! thanks lang
Karen: glad to hear my recording has brought back fond memories.
Wow! What a magical night you were so lucky to be immersed in! Thank you for sharing this enchanting recording (love the gentle water lapping)
You’re welcome Michele!
This may be my favorite of all your clips. Where I grew up in central Wisconsin we had barred owls down ‘in the woods,’ but as time went buy trees grew up around the homesite. One of my best memories of the old place is sleeping outside and having a similar barred owl concert. Sheer beauty for my ears.
Hi Lang, and thanks again for your sojourns and adventures in nature in sound. I share the love for it that you and others have expressed.
Are you planning on offering any additional CD’s with this material?
I use your CD’s for falling asleep at night. Great company and a great help Don MacDougall.
I’m trying to figure out what to do with CDs. Sales in my store are almost non-existent now that I’m posting all these recordings. But I do intend to at least offer several new “collections”of fresh mater in the form of mp3 downloads. Are you able to burn a CD from MP3s? It’s really rather simple on most computers, although you need to have a CD player installed.
there are external CD burners on amazon for as cheap as $21
You should develop and sell your own ringtone app (for setting ringer, alarm and notification sounds from among your recordings). You could also set up a white noise site like https://www.rainymood.com/ under a freemium model (you get some ambient sounds for free, but you can subscribe for more) — and/or an ambient sound YouTube channel: the following recording of rain alone has 14M views, and anything over a few million views on a semi-regular basis generally generates enough income to live off of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX6kn9_U8qk (your recordings are much better than this one!). Lots of people use ambient sound channels to… Read more »
Thanks for the advice Luke. I actually have an old Youtube channels that has gotten over five million views: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMusicOfNature/about The money made is pretty insignificant … youtube pays so very little per view that it’s hardly worthwhile (although it would start to be significant if I was getting five million a year). My friends at Listening Earth also tried YouTube, in their case to sell CDs, but it didn’t really pay off for them, in spite of garnering over five million views: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1kHFv_e5v5JeDEXELcAUaA> So, I’ve pretty much concluded that YouTube dcoesn’t offer enough incentive to put too much time… Read more »
As an aside from my comment on this lovely clip, one night i was walking late at night at my mother’s lake when i was young. suddenly i heard noises coming from everywhere. they were similar to barred owls but not quite the same. maybe barred owls doing a different call. it sounded like monkeys or to be quite frank, at the time i thought aliens!! it was such a wild sound i loved it, but it actually scared me and i am rarely scared in nature (although the first time i heard a fox call without knowing what it… Read more »
sounds like “monkeys”? that’s no doubt barred owls doing their caterwauling … maybe a whole family group!
I heard the caterwauling once. It was loud. Sounded jungle-like. I hope they do that again this year.
that water is so delicate, is like fairy wind chimes. i love barred owl sounds and these are wonderful–so full of the vibrancy and resonance of being fully alive and engaged.
glad you like it!
I liked it very much. I love to hear barred owls when I’m camping out on the trail. It’s a little part of why I’m out there.
Me too! I enjoy camping under the stars just for the sake of the sound experience.
always amazing the night sounds including this owl. We can’t see but they can and the night is their day. throw in some whip o rills, an occasional coyote and of course the loons, occasional migrating geese, some frogs and the evening’s symphony begins. Always lovely recordings Lang.
The first night at my new home the barred owls started calling. My dogs were bumfuzzled and thought we were being attacked. Now they hardly lift an eyelid. Love those owls…thank you.
You’re welcome June.
Lang, for some reason the last couple of your soundscape posts that I received on my email, I cannot get the recordings.
What should I do?
Hmmm. What device are you using? A person recently complained that they are unable to play the recordings on their new iPad. I have no idea what’s up with that.
My IPad is a couple years old. Never had any problems until a week ago.
Did you by chance upgrade to the latest iOS (operating system)?
Dang … not good news. I think there’s an incompatibility with the latest iOs on fairly new iPads. And I am powerless to do anything about that. Could be that the native WordPress audio player needs to be tweaked (by the WordPress crew) or else it’s a glitch in the new iOS.
Would you perform the following tests and let me know what happens?
1. Do recordings play on this test site?: http://store.mystagingwebsite.com
2. Does the bright red player about halfway down the page work here: http://williamclarkson.net/2016/05/20/changing-audio-player-colors/
3, Does the recording play on my home page? https://musicofnature.com
So amazing! Felt like I was in the theater and the frogs were the background orchestra creating the soundtrack for the drama as it unfolded. What a show nature puts on! Thanks for giving us a front row seat, Lang!
It is a theater for sure. Nature’s own theater, and we humans can witness the show.
Sorry, you were further away than I thought. We often get this type of reaction in the smokies as well as in northern Michigan. Once had six interacting in northern lower peninsula.
I’ve heard big families caterwauling in Florida, where Barred Owls are quite friendly and seem to be everywhere.
Totally fabulous! Barred Owls are special to us her too. Why don’t you stop in when your in the area? You were only about an hour away. Dick
Dick: I’d love to stop by, but my trip was a whirlwind of one-nighters and I had no time to spare.
There are coyotes that live in the woods behind our house. . . .I’m not a fan : < (
Owls are scary sounding enough!
Rose Ann: you’re sounding like a scaredy-cat!
Nice one! Barred owls and coyotes make any night interesting.
’twas definitely an interesting night!
I thought I heard coyotes near the end. At the very end sounded like Pee Wee chiming in for good measure.
Yes, I mention that in my post. A Pewee? Yep … one faint song at the very end. Good ears!
Guilty, I only gleam the descriptions. I usually listen to these at work to ‘take me away’. Calgon used to have the same effect, but HR frowns on me taking a bath in my cubical.