Shindagin Hollow in Winter “Winter Birdscape” … the gentle trickle of a brook with a variety of bird sounds. Recorded in Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott (with help from Peter Weidmann).

Click Here for direct link to MP3.

Winter is generally quiet here in the rolling hills of upstate New York, with the exception of the gurgle of brooks, wind in the trees, and occasional bird sounds. A few years ago, I made a special effort to record winter soundscapes. For the most part, I was not that successful … one gets tired of just recording water speaking water. But on one ocassion, I got lucky!

The featured recording, made in late winter of 2013, portrays the delicate voice of a small mountain brook, but also includes the calls and songs of five species of winter birds. At the beginning, a lone Blue Jay flies-in, giving its raucous jay-calls. Then a Pileated Woodpecker sounds off with its laugh-like outburst, followed by a series of drums. Listen also for two “squeaky-wheel” calls of the Blue Jay, plus calls of another jay way off in the distant. Next a White-breasted Nuthatch chimes-in with a long-continued series of nasal songs: ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. There is also a Black-capped Chickadee singing nearby, it’s thin whistled songs adding a hint of musicality to the chorus: fee-bee-ee. At the end, an American Crow flies near, its loud caws gradually fading into the distance.

I rather like this soundscape (which I’ve “densified” a bit so that you hear all five species in the ten minute sample). Some folks don’t appreciate the steely calls of Blue Jays, but I do, as long as they keep their distance. They are certainly a common fixture of the winter soundscape.

Let me know what you think of this recording. Do you find it relaxing? Do you want to loop it for a longer listening experience? I could play it softly all day without tiring of it, but others may have a different reaction.

p.s. Many thanks to Peter Weidmann, who helped with the gathering of this and other winter soundscape recordings.

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