“The Hermit Thrush” – a Music of Nature podcast prototype by Lang Elliott, featuring recordings made through the years, mostly near my home in upstate New York and also in the Adirondack Mountains.
Click Here for direct link to MP3.
Hallelujah! Another podcast prototype completed! This one features the Hermit Thrush, and is an example of how I might handle species portraits of birds … covering both songs and calls. I’m pretty happy with the result.
The Hermit Thrush is considered one of North America’s finest singers. To my ear, only the Swainson’s Thrush comes close to the Hermit if rated on musical quality and emotional impact. Poets and naturalists through the ages have praised the Hermit’s voice. John Burroughs thought it an expression of “serene religious beautitude” that embodies “a peace and solemn joy that only the finest souls may know.” Walt Whitman gave human voice to the song: “O liquid free and tender … O wild and loose my soul … O wondrous singer.” I concur. Only a “hermit” would inhabit such remote places, spinning exalted songs and choosing “thus to fling its soul upon the growing gloom,” as poet Thomas Harding once mused.
Let me know if you enjoy my podcast and what changes you think might improve it.
Recording Credits: All songs and calls were recorded by yours truly and my partner-recordist Ted Mack, with the exception of the nocturnal flight calls given by a migrating group, which were graciously provided by nocturnal flight call expert Bill Evans of oldbird.org.
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I hope you are still actively recording and sharing! Such amazing and intricate beauty, our wildlife in form and voice! Thank you
I hope you will market your work broadly for general listening and learning by many…VPR needs this segment!
Very sweet, thank you Lang & “Happy Thanksgiving” to you & yours.
And a happy thanksgiving to you and yours, Rose Ann!
Just lovely! The melody brought to mind summer memories in Washington state. Where I also love to hear the Swainson’s Thrush. Thank you for sharing!
Swainson’s Thrush is another of my favorites. In many ways, I like it’s song better than that of the Hermit.
A treasure! Thank you!
Beautiful Lang. I particularly enjoyed the technical magic of lowering pitch and frequency so that you can hear the call in a different way. It makes me wonder how other thrushes hear each other. It definitely adds to my appreciation of their voice. Thanks.
Yes, pitch-lowering and time-stretching works great with thrushes, the Bobolink, and a number of other birds having impressive songs with rapid delivery of notes.
Informative and beautiful as always. Narration is great. I guess I would like a longer chunk of the soundscape sounds at the end but this is a minor point and many may not share my opinion.
Voila! A longer ending has been added!
The Thrush is one of my favorite songs. This was nicely done! I enjoyed the podcast,in part because it was focused and somewhat brief. That may sound counter intuitive, but I could see myself “thumbing through” these when I wanted to review the call of a particular bird while driving. Thanks for doing it!
Hugh: Of course, the primary intention of creating these podcasts is to engage folks in a “story” that celebrates the music of the natural world. They’re not meant as a reference, really, as that is more the function of a “reference guide,” such as our BirdTunes iphone app. If these ever make it on radio, they would have to appeal to those who consider themselves nature lovers, but who may have little or no knowledge of natural sounds. I’m just experimenting right now, trying different approaches and lengths, hoping to figure something out in the process, although ultimately the podcast… Read more »
Absolutely beautiful! I see them in central Florida in winter but they are usually silent. What a neat podcast and thank you Lang for the recording! Jay
You’re welcome Jay! This is an experiment with a somewhat short-form podcast … a seven minute production as opposed to the over 20 minutes for my “Apalachicola” prototype. “Spring Peepers and Autumn Pipers” chimed-in at 13 minutes, I believe. I have no idea what the actual attention span of my intended audience will be.
Thank you Terry!
The echoing sound also reminds me of the varied thrush echoes its sounds in the big rain forests of western Washington. Seldom saw the bird but the sound echoes around the forest below the giant tops. such an incredible group of birds.
thanks Lang. Great memories
Mark: I hope to record in the Northwest next season and Varied Thrush will be at the top of my list. It will be challenging to find a good spot where they’re not too high up, and where it is calm and you can’t hear the rush of a stream nearby. I’m thinking that Mr. Ranier might work, except stream noise would be ubiquitous. Any ideas?
Another likely location would be along the scenic road 242 to the west of
Sisters, Oregon … maybe Scott Lake. It’s fairly flat in that area, with few streams. But maybe there would be a loud rush coming from meltwaters from the Three Sister’s peaks:
Thanks for the ‘tricks’ you have added here. I would not have guessed!!!
I’m full of fun tricks! In a way, the entire podcast is a “trick”, in that it is an illusion of … Reality (whatever that is).
Best possible post election lullaby. Thanks, Lang, and g’nite!
Thank you for your passion in preserving and sharing the exquisite sounds of the natural world. I only recently became aware of your work and will be visiting your online store for some wonderful gifts. I truly appreciate the lush and yet delicate richness of your skillful recordings. So many of us are unaware of how “endangered” these voices are in our noise-polluted world. I used to relish the enchanted songs of the hermit thrush near my home, but as development has occurred, these sweet singers have retreated. Such a loss.
I love listening to your podcast. This one might of been improved a bit by mentioning that the sound is so eerie because of polyphony, and I’m interested what the latest is on its ability to split the sounds coming from the syrinx. I recognize your last recording which I believe I have on my Stokes guide.
Yes … I may very well add something about the syrinx and “two voices combining”. Thanks for reminding me about that!
Thank you for this beauty, Lang! It’s healing. It’s so true that this bird is an inspiration; American composer Amy Beach wrote two solo piano pieces titled Hermit Thrush at Morn and Hermit Thrush at Eve. And as for ring tones; great idea! I would absolutely purchase any number of Music of Nature ring tones!! Beautiful podcast; the process is sounding more wonderful with each one.
Marilyn: I’d love to hear those piano pieces!
This was so beautiful, Lang! Your recordings always sound so professional…loved it!
: >) I do believe I have about the best recordings available, especially when one considers their artistic merit. I work hard to gather recordings that can be considered “works of art” … spacious recordings that rest lightly on the ear and evoke a true sense of wonder. I don’t like recordings that are too close and loud, that blast your ears and make you want to either turn down the volume or else run away.
I love these sounds and interesting facts of these birds…I just love to listen to them and how they bring such beauty to the sound of day….it’s also fun to listen to the answering bird after the call…they are so precious 🙂
Glad you like it!