Note: The recordings featured here are “3D binaural soundscapes”. Please wear headphones for a profound listening experience that will make you think you’re actually out there, immersed in the natural world!
Desiring to finally capture definitive wolf howls, I decided to look into the possibility of working with captive wolves and I quickly discovered the nearby Wolf Mountain Nature Center, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit outdoor educational facility dedicated to fostering an understanding and appreciation of Gray Wolves and their kin. Founded in 2006 by Will Pryor and run entirely by volunteers, the center is currently the home to 15 captive-born wolves, all housed in large outdoor enclosures. Fortunately, I was able to obtain permission to record there.
Gray Wolf. Three group outbursts given shortly before dawn (long intervals between outbursts have been removed). Recorded at Wolf Mountain Nature Center near Norwich, N.Y. 15 February 2021. © Lang Elliott.
While I am quite pleased with my group howl captures, by far my favorite recording from Wolf Mountain is a most extraordinary solo performance that occurred in the middle of the night. Around 2am, a lone wolf began howling with long, wavered notes exhibiting minimal variation in pitch. The howling went on for sixteen minutes, with only brief periods of silence, and no other wolves joined in. What on earth is this about? Is this wolf sad and distraught, as one might assume from the quality of the howls, or is something else going on here, something more soulful, passionate or perhaps even erotic?
Gray Wolf. Solo “love song” of a male, given in the middle of the night. Wolf Mountain Nature Center, near Norwich, N.Y. 15 February 2021. © Lang Elliott.
Whatever Tamarack’s mood, I am deeply moved by his performance. Would that I could experience his state of mind, if only for a moment, and feel the emotion that gives rise to these hypnotic, otherworldly howls.
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