Bluebird Talkings

Bluebird Habitat at Land Between the Lakes, KY ©  Lang Elliott

The song of the Eastern Bluebird is a delight to the ear, a series of bright, musical warbled phrases sounding like cheer … cheerily … cheer-cheerful-charmer. Females occasionally sing and sometimes answer their mate’s song with their own. Of special interest is the bluebird’s “dawn song,” an excited series of song phrases often preceded by staccato chit calls …

Frog Pond Campout

Frog Pond Habitat ©  Lang Elliott

A few nights ago, I camped next to a marsh in nearby Finger Lakes National Forest. The object was to get some sleep so that I could rise at 4am and enjoy the birds, singing at dawn. As it turned out, I stayed awake well into the wee hours of the morning, fascinated by the never-ending chorus of Bullfrogs and Green Frogs …

Erie Thunderstorm

Boardwalk at Erie National Wildlife Refuge

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 boardwalk trail in nearby Erie National Wildlife Refuge, hoping to record birds singing against a backdrop of drip from the trees …

Reverberant Robin

Grand Tetons by Lang Elliott

While browsing through recordings I gathered in 2011 during an expedition to the Rock Mountain region, I stumbled across a real jewel that I had totally forgotten about. 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, due to the mixing of echoes off the surrounding hills … a clear demonstration of how a bird’s song becomes married to its environment …

Periodical Cicadas – Brood V

photo of Magicicada septendecim © Lang Elliott

During my recent recording expedition, I made a quick swing through eastern Ohio to experience the Periodical Cicada emergence … that of Brood V, which occurs every seventeen years. There are three species involved, including: Magicicada septendecim, Magiciada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula

Whip-poor-will-a-thon

Whip-poor-will  © Wil Hershberger

During my recent recording expedition, I spent the night next to a swamp in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. I rose promptly at 4am in the morning, jumped into my car, and headed for a favorite spot around ten miles away. I had only driven a mile or two 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. I grabbed my gear and walked in his direction …

Barred Owl Reunion

Maumee Wetlands

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 that I believe to be a celebration of family life. How could they not be having fun?

Hermit Thrush and Drip

hermit thrush habitat

What could be more relaxing than listening to a Hermit Thrush singing after a rain, with water dripping from the trees? Let me know if you are affected by this recording as I am. 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.”

Green Frog Stutter-Fest

Green Frog calling

Yesterday morning at 12:30 am, I recorded Green Frogs at a small woodland pond. With the temperature in the high 60’s, it was a laid-back performance, accentuated at times by the trills of a lone Gray Treefrog (with others calling in the distance). My intention was to present the soundscape on my blog as a slow-paced, meditative experience. But then something unexpected happened …

Mockingbird Nightsong

Gibbous Moon

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 …

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