Robin & Spring Peepers at dusk. 25 May 1994, northern Minnesota. Recorded by Ted Mack. Note: this is a 3D binaural recording; please listen using headphones for optimal spatial effect.
Searching my collection for unused soundscapes, I came across this jewel: a lone robin singing at dusk with spring peepers chorusing in the background. This is a zen-infused recording, a simple yet profoundly moving soundscape that is at once relaxing and sublime. It provides a true taste of northwoods magic and an inkling of things soon to come. My good friend Ted Mack captured this beauty during a 6-month recording expedition the two of us undertook way back in 1994.
I only wish it lasted longer. After about five minutes of singing, the robin went mute. Then all we hear is peepers and a few other subtle bird songs in the background. During the recording, listen for the whistles of White-throated Sparrows and songs of Nashville Warbler (I think), maybe a Song Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, and Winter Wren. I hear a single faint Swainson’s Thrush song near the end. There are also occasional very faint cackles of a Wood Frog. Have I missed anything (I can use some help identifying the faint bird songs in the background)?
I truly love this recording and find myself playing it over and over again. Thank you Ted for capturing and crystallizing this brief, yet supremely exalted moment in time!
american Robins are my favorite bird and i have to do an opinion paper for school and these facts and the sound of the robins will help me get a better grade on it.
This is the bird I have been hearing in the evenings lately!!
So relaxing. Loved it.
Lang, I am so glad your back at it. I am not as eloquent with words as many of your commenters, so I will leave it as is.
[…] the Robin Singing at Dusk that I featured in an earlier post, this recording includes the sounds of just a few species. The […]
A gentle creature speaks to us and we can not help but take in its lovely message. Thank you Lang.
Después de haber creado la ornitomusica,es para mi un honor compartir mis ideas con otras personas en el mundo,Galicia esta presente,mis 5 CSS son un agradecimi centro a la naturaleza.thanks Fran
Thanks for your comment Senen, but might it be possible for you to translate it into English? Very few of my readership speaks Spanish, and when I use google to translate your comment, it doesn’t come through very well: “After creating the ornitomusica is an honor for me to share my ideas with others in the world, Galicia is present, my 5 Thank- CSS is a nature center”. I know that you make music and often mix-in bird sounds, so it would be nice to hear from you in English. By the way, I found you here, on CD Baby:… Read more »
My all-time favorite bird and frog all in one recording…I’m in heaven. I think I could listen to this on loop forever.
Thank you sharing such a beautifully crisp and delightful piece. I am eager to hear my first robin this spring.
I will most definitely purchase this. I am already excited about it!
Thank you for sharing this. Truly beautiful!
Absolutely lovely, pure tranquility
Thank you for emailing this beautiful music of robins to me. I felt like I was home again. Ex Minnesotian.
Very nice, but, perhaps oddly, on winter evenings I really enjoy the singing insect compilations (which include some crepuscular bird song as well). Years ago I bought a classic from the store called Insect Concertos, in glorious CD quality, now mislaid and sadly it no longer appears in your catalog as far as I can tell. Carpenter frogs in New England! I don’t think a computer sound card can match a disc issue, but thank you for uploading and sharing your work and that of other sound recordists. I will listen to anything I can get.
Norman: I published a title called “Insect Concertos” some years ago, co-authored by Wil Hershberger. It’s no longer available, but some of the same recordings are in my current production “Insect Lullabies” (find in my store). Notably, Wil Hershberger plans on doing an insect title that is all his own, and it will be part of my offerings. Together, the two titles will probably suit you just fine.
This is just the tonic I needed today, a cold, freezing rainy, blustery day in northern Vermont. Total bliss, and some longing for what is in a few months time. Thank you for brightening my day immeasurably.
You’re welcome Evergreen Erb!
hi lang, did ted mack ever put up a site with his nature sound recordings?
i love listening to your sounds from another chapter in my life.
Karen: No Ted doesn’t have a website. However, many of his best soundscape recordings have been integrated into the various titles offered for sale at musicofnature.com. Many other of his recordings are part of products such as our BirdTunes app for the iPhone, plus most other birding apps.
I never tire of Robin’s plainsong. He speaks peace, eloquently, right into my heart. Thanks to you and Ted for more of Nature’s magical medicine music.
The Robin is heart medicine for many, especially those of us who as children awakened to robin carols at dawn. I think the bird songs we hear in youth find their way to a special place deep inside. Hearing them automatically reminds us of those bygone days, of a time before our worries began. Hearing them brings us back to that restful home within ourselves.
I agree, Lang. These sounds automatically and without hesitation take us home again–when we were young and life was simpler. We didn’t have to pay the bills, go to work, etc. And then we connect again to that peaceful feeling and breathe a little easier. Our hearts feel hope again. Nice.
wow- and yes, I would purchase….
maybe the frogs could fade out after a long time, and then, just a few mosquitoes could bzz by now and then, add in some rustling sounds of night creatures amongst the leaves, a few deer snorts, a distant coyote or two and then, maybe a soft steady rain. Later, the wind could pick up, a thunderstorm could begin, and after it passes we hear early morning renewal… perfect. I say an eight hour recording….I’d listen every night. 😉
Now that would be a production … but certainly possible. I’ll have to collect more ambiences this coming season. I still don’t have a thunderstorm that I really like.
If it’s possible to fall in love with a sound, I just did. This is the soundtrack of happiness for me. Bliss, really. With so much wrong in my world at the moment, this is surely a tonic. Thank you. So very much.
How did you record this soundscape, with a SASS? Best from Norway
Well, Ted made the recording and I’m pretty sure it was using a SASS. But we also used a special stereo parabolic setup back then (that we have since abandoned), so it’s possible he used that. I just don’t know for certain because he didn’t indicate it in his notes.
Lang, this is my favourite of all your soundscapes that I have listened to so far, as well as your cds I already own. This reminds me of where I live, and when I was young. We had the soft sounds of nature – robins, peepers, june bugs, crickets, and the occasional hoo hoo of an owl (only the soft hoo hoos, not the harsh calls). This year for the first time where I live I once again heard the hoo hoo of an owl. I agree with Deborah, I would very much like to have a cd of these… Read more »
I’m getting excited about producing “Sublime Nature” or “Tranquil Nature” … featuring only very relaxing material. I’m in the process of gathering up those soundscapes. And next season I’ll try to gather more of this kind of thing. The problem is that it’s very challenging getting a really good mix, without a jet or automobile interrupting things. Seems like it would be easy, but it isn’t. When out in nature, we humans are very good at filtering out and ignoring background noise, but recording captures everything and those background sounds often become very annoying when heard over speakers, out of… Read more »
Appreciating your spirit in releasing this recording in this now of your life as it matches the stirrings of spring where I live. As I listened to the recording I began to listen to the bird songs of mid day outside my home in Ashland as well. But oh yes you are right. The sounds of an airplane & cars were present. I had not noticed them until I read this response of yours. Not helpful for a recording. But interesting to me is how the ears of my core being selected what was nurturing to my soul.
Dalya: What a nice way to describe how we filter out the unessential and focus on that which is healing: “… interesting to me is how the ears of my core being selected what was nurturing to my soul.” I like that very much, especially “the ears of my core being”. The music of nature encompasses far more than sound. There is music in the flowers, music in the way a snail crawls, music in the ant rushing up a stem. The ears of your core being make use of all the senses to home-in on that which is nurturing.… Read more »
so absolutely lovely. lifts my heart–which i sorely needed. thank you.
oh also, is this somehwere for purchase?
As if the photo isn’t stunning enough. I am getting excited hearing the Spring calls. Using this as background as I work…
Lovely! It’s delicate…halting…as if the robin doesn’t want to disturb the twilight peace that is descending…
that’s a nice phrase … “twilight peace descending”.
This is so wonderful! Sure wish there was some way you could extend or loop this and create a CD with just this on it! Any chance you’ve already done this? Is there some way I could purchase this recording? Lots of questions here. I would love to have this recording, Lang. Let me know if you already offer it somewhere.
Let me think about this. I certainly intend to publish it as part of a collection that I may call “Sublime Nature”. I hadn’t thought of looping it, but why not? I’ll get back to you on this.
I love the simpler soundscapes, with just one or two sounds. This is a great example of one.
Me too George. But as you well know, it’s very difficult to get really good ones that have the desired effect on the ear. While I love all the sounds of nature, from cacophonous to sublime, I’m always searching for special combinations that move me internally. Thus, I’m consciously picking certain instances out of wild nature, not so much to document them as to distill rarified elixirs that are good for the soul.
i would be interested in deborah’s idea also. this is just so lovely. maybe even with just one or two other tracks. or just looped. so simply pure.
Deborah, Billie, Renate and others: OK … here’s what I intend to do. Over the next week or two, I’ll publish portions of “candidate tracks” hopefully to be included in an hour-long title that I shall call “Tranquil Nature” … with a focus on bird-related material. If a track gets the OK of your discerning ears, then it’ll be included. Hopefully I’ll clear an hours worth of material and then publish the title well before the end of March (at least for digital download; doing the CDs is more time consuming because of artwork design, producing a CD master, etc.).… Read more »
I’m in as well. What a beautiful respite to a hectic day.
you definitely would end up with my purchase. i love the idea and the process. i am going through a period where outdoor construction noise nearby is loud and i am so sound sensitive, it rattles me greatly. so would be nice to have soothing birds and water to listen to via headphone. i’m fine with mp3.
Love your work!
I will certainly buy the CD! Please do make it! This is my first experience with your blog, Lang, and I was overjoyed to see the words “Robin at Dusk” today in my email. I discovered your recordings and blog when I was searching for nightingale recordings to see what the heck John Keats was so excited about in his “Ode to a Nightingale”…and I had to admit that I wasn’t that impressed. I found myself thinking the humble, homey American robin is a hard act to follow! But then I tried to recall all the sensory and emotional memories… Read more »
Susan: Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I love your description of how robin-song relaxes both your body and soul … expanding and raising up … magical, sensual, centering yet opening … soulful beauty. Nice writing!
I would buy it, too! Count me in.
I have been playing this robin/peepers recording over and over. So peaceful and relaxing. I love it. I’d love to see other similar tracks with this in a compilation download.
My (Indoor) cats are enjoying this recording here on the Big Island, it’s lovely.
Thank you so much for keeping us in touch with the beauties of nature .. So love the sounds id birds at the beginning and end of my day ..a perfect beginning and ending … As in Lauds and Compline !!!
Doreen: Although I’m not particularly religious, I love the book “Music of Silence” by Brother David Steindl-Rast (a mystic for sure). Here’s what he says: “Compline is the conclusion of the monastic day. Entering the fullness of night, we retire from song back into the silence that is the dark soil in which the flower of chant is rooted.”
This evokes (in me) a wonderful image that corresponds to Ted’s recording: at dusk, the Robin and peepers gently chant us into silence, easing us into the dark soil that feeds the inner flower of the monastic life.
To me this is the essence of “music of nature”. Sweet . . . simple . . . profound. Beautifully done Ted!
Lang, this was simply sublime……peepers and robins = joyful inner self. Thank you!
Chris: I totally agree. I’ve now listened to it maybe twenty times and have yet to tire of it. It draws the worry out of my head and then vaporizes it, turning it into a breath of fresh air. I feel as if I’m floating on clouds.