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.