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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Wow! I live in Southern California, where I hear lots of coyote howls. For some reason, it had never even occurred to me to wonder what a wolf howl would sound like. Very different! Nice site!
And today, just after discovering this beautiful recording, this turns up in the New York Times. Incredibly sad.
Amazing how this alarmed my indoor cats, who’ve never heard anything like a wolf in their many years! Great recording. Here in Asheville, NC, we have the WNC Nature Center (where I’ve been a volunteer for 6+ years). One of the most popular annual events is the Wolf Howl, held each November. Adults and kids can howl with the red and grey wolves.
wow, that lone wolf is a sound I never heard before. Really touches the heart. Glad you captured that
I loved hearing the recordings but it makes me very very sad that they live in captivity! Is there no way they can be released back into their native habitat??
The wolves at the center are all captive-born (from long lines of captive wolves) and it would therefore be a disaster to release them.
I understand that, but I still feel bad that they don’t live the life that was meant for them.
Here in Asheville the captive red wolves have been part of the breeding program hoping to restore the wild population.
These are THE BEST Wolf sounds I have ever experienced. I even go to a local Wolf Sanctuary and don’t hear them like this. Thank You for ALL You Do.
You’re welcome John. Wish I could get something this good from the wild, but that’s unlikely.
Do you still have the sound recording of the solo Coyote howl in the White Mountains of Arizona. I would love to hear that one…from a Coyote wild and free.
Here it is. Sounded like a wolf to me, but a friend who is more of an expert on the matter says no, it’s a coyote:
p.s. I presume you’ve checked out my coyote recording from the Smoky Mountains, but if not, here it is: https://musicofnature.com/coyote-moon/
Thank you so much. And thank you for the Coyote Moon link as well. May I ask your permission to use these two links in my work as a biologist. Once before you gave me permission to use their howling at the Beaver Pond. I have it on my website and have used it in my talks..always attributing it to you. People love to hear them howling….it adds so much to their experience of this reclusive wild canine. My best, Geri Vistein
Sure, please do!
Thank you! Lang
Two weeks in a row now I’ve heard the two most haunting coyote and wolf recording, both by Lang Elliot. Remarkable.
Yup … I now have great examples for both species!
Wow! Incredible recordings.
Touches my soul! This is absolutely beautiful !
Hair-raising, hypnotic and delightful, Lang. These recordings speak to the soul. Loved them!
Oh wow, that lone wolf song is mesmerizing. It sounds like a large wooden flute or even a conch shell. If he doesn’t get his lady, I’ll be surprised. Thank you for allowing us to hear this
Reminds me of a zen shakuhachi piece, played using a very large bass-size flute.
that sounds perfect. except maybe too much wild soulful emotion for a zen piece? 🙂
At 4:30 one morning while tent camping near Stanley, Idaho, I heard two packs a distance apart serenading each other and the dawn. I’ll never forget the thrill!
Lang, this is fabulous stuff! The writing alone is marvelous, and those sonorous, soulful wolf howls are over the top. Wow! Thanks! Have fun at Big Bend and wherever else you go. Give our best to our javelina pals in the Chisos basin.
Thanks Ed. Two weeks to launch, then at least a few days driving before things get springy. By then, the Texas cold spell should be over, at least I hope.
Exhilaratingly beautiful and wild!! And my dog loves it, asking me to play it over and over!
I am so glad to hear that your dog likes it … perhaps the howls excite the wildness within.
Wonderful, almost spiritual recordings! Thank you! Just wondering, where would you have to visit to truly capture the calls of wild wolves (wolf pack)? Alaska, Northern Canada, maybe the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone NP?
I would go to Yellowstone first. Lots of wolves, but it would be difficult to get very close to a howling pack, and my guess is that there would be lots of distant whoosh from streams. The Arizona pack might actually be a better bet. The area where they occur is very quiet indeed, at least when the wind is not blowing.
I look forward to all of your recordings and adventures. These are wonderful. I will listen to them over and over.
Oh, Alpine Arizona! You picked a stunningly beautiful remote area of Arizona on the eastern edge of the state. Mogollon rim and everything there. An area also with such history. thanks
Yes … neat spot. I recorded next to a huge mountain meadow to the northeast of Alpine, and bordering New Mexica … a place called ELC Tank.
So wonderful to listen to these recordings. Especially of the solo males love song. Such a potent reminder of the wild in us as well as them ..
Tamarack’s “love song” blows me away. I’ve never heard anything quite like it.
I agree !
Beyond beautiful! Thank you. I never knew of this center.
Gail: It’s a really nice nature center, all outdoors (except for a small gift shop and outhouses). The wolves occasionally sound off during visiting hours (Sunday afternoons right now), especially during the winter months, when they’re the most vocal. They also have coyotes and arctic foxes, all treated supremely well by the volunteer staff and Will Pryor (the founder), who lives on site.
That they are! Hey … in two weeks I’ll be on the road at last, heading for the Texas Hill Country, followed by Big Bend and then a variety of wild areas in Arizona and southern California. I so look forward to leaving winter behind and catapulting into the height of spring.