Gently gurgling brook with subtle bird song. 6am, 21 April 2016, Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, N.Y. © Lang Elliott. For optimal meditative effect, please play at a low volume that simulates the actual listening experience in nature.
Today, I decided to record the gentle gurgling of a forest brook, along with ambient bird sounds. I rose at 5am and headed for Shindagin Hollow, one of my favorite recording locations not far from my hometown of Ithaca, New York. I set up my soundscape microphone and then took a long walk, returning after about an hour and a half.
Although some migrating songbirds have returned, the dawn chorus in forested habitats is still very thin. Later in the morning, when I analyzed this recording in my studio, I was pleased that no birds came close to the microphone. I was also relieved that no jets flew over and no cars drove by. Thus I was successful in getting as very gentle 90-minute soundscape, with pleasing water sounds and subtle bird songs.
Listening closely during the first couple of minutes, I hear a Hermit Thrush singing in the distance, the soft trills of a Junco (or is that a Swamp Sparrow?), distant Robin songs, and the uneven drum of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. A little later, I believe I hear the high-pitched songs of a Brown Creeper. Toward the end of this excerpt, a warbler chimes in, but I’m not sure which one (any ideas … or is it a Blue-headed Vireo?). Am I missing any species (one sharp listener and commenter believes that he hears Swamp Sparrow and Song Sparrow calls)?
So what does everyone think of this recording? If you like the gentle gurgling of water, then I think this is very tranquil, with nothing that jars the ear. If you don’t like water sounds, then I guess this will not be a favorite. Please chime-in and let me know your thoughts. I might publish the entire recording, which includes a number of other distant bird songs and calls, including those of Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, and American Crow.
Might a long version (80-90 minutes) be of interest to massage therapists and meditators? Is the gurgling of the water at a good level, or is it perhaps too loud (given, of course, that you’re playing the recording softly, as I always suggest)? Yes, I would really like to know your thoughts.
NOTE: Truth be told, I have severe high frequency hearing loss, so my identifications of high-pitched bird songs are done visually, by looking at sound-pictures (sonograms) of recordings. I’ve gotten fairly good at identifying this way, though it doesn’t hold a candle to actually hearing those birds. Given my hearing deficit, it seems crazy that I do the work that I do!