longhouse pond winter scene Bird calls & songs in our backyard. 7:30-8:00am, 22 February 2016. © Lang Elliott.

I rise at dawn on this fine winter morning and excitedly venture out into our yard to record bird sounds. It is a chill 24F, with snow patches clinging to the ground. The pond is solidly frozen over, reflecting the rising sun. Though winter still has a firm hold, there is a surprising variety of bird sounds … the optimistic voicings of birds thinking spring.

Enjoy this recording, which is an 8-minute composite of various takes made over a half-hour period. We live on the edge of town, so distant traffic noise is evident throughout, though not overwhelmingly. As you can hear, the bird calls and songs ring through loud and clear. What a exuberant celebration of sound … a joyful reminder that we have transitioned into the leading edge of spring!

Below is a list of the species I hear, roughly in order of appearance. Maybe you can add more (some of the high-pitched calls are difficult to ID with certainty).

White-breasted Nuthatch – calls
Downy Woodpecker – drums (I believe it’s a Downy)
Tufted Titmouse – various calls + distant songs
White-breasted Nuthatch – songs
Black-capped Chickadee – various calls
American Goldfinch – calls and one song
Red-bellied Woodpecker – calls
Blue Jay – diverse calls
American Crow – distant calls
American Robin – calls
Northern Cardinal – songs
Mourning Dove – songs

NOTE: I recorded this soundscape with a Wildtronics Pro Mono-Stereo Parabolic Microphone, set to a 50/50 mix of stereo ambience and mono-parabolic. I used a Zoom H5 recorder. The advantage of this setup is that I am able to get a loud-and-clear parabolic rendition of whatever bird is at the focal point of the parabola, while at the same time adding a nice stereo ambience to the recording.

p.s. On a sidenote, what do you think of my use of the word “voicings” in the first paragraph? Musically-speaking, it is incorrectly used (I think), but for the vast majority of readers, it probably makes perfectly good sense. Whatya think?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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