Shindagin Hollow Habitat © Lang Elliott 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)?

lang_500-300x300So 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!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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