Sounds of the Wild Country

Nature is loaded with beautiful sounds. They add another dimension to being in the wild and stimulate the mind in unique ways. Capturing those sounds and bringing them to people helps build a connection to the wild country. I also have recordings on my Sounds of the Wild Country page that is on SoundCloud.

Albums of my recorded music are available on Apple iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and others. Here is a link to the Apple Music page.

The Albums are available to stream on Spotify.

Dawn Chorus of Birds: Eastern Deciduous Forest

The Dawn Chorus of birds and frogs greet the morning in the Eastern Deciduous Forest. This includes three tracks that have multiple species dominating the dawn chorus and six tracks that highlight individual species. All tracks are in stereo and recorded in Western Pennsylvania.

The Eastern Deciduous Forest stretches along the Appalachian Mountains in Western Pennsylvania. Dawn during spring and summer is full of bird songs and frogs calling. On five successive mornings in late May and early June, I went into the forest before first light to find places to record. These nine tracks bring a variety of the sounds of spring.

Track Notes:

  1. Dawn Chorus at Zanner’s Pond: Green Frogs and Bull Frogs with an American Robin open the morning chorus around this small pone embedded in the deciduous forest. The microphone was setup so the left channel projected over the pond and the right into a forest and an abandoned field. Shortly, a Wood Thrush begins its flute like song, and then a Northern Cardinal joins the group. Eastern Towhee, Northern Catbird, Red-winged Blackbird, and Mourning Dove also declare their claim to this area. The little stream flowing down the hill can be heard on the left.
  • Dawn Chorus in Thomas’ Grove: Deciduous woods surrounded the microphone as the dawn chorus began. I was a quarter mile back from the edge of the forest patch in the heart of oaks, maples, hickories, and other hardwoods. Wood Thrushes, American Robins, Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Towhees, and Blue Jays sing to the beginning of the day.
  • Dawn Chorus at Pear Hill Lane: On a steep hill rising from an open area, I set the microphone in the middle of a forest.  Oaks and maples surrounded the immediate area and Eastern Hemlocks liked the edge of the cliff that dropped back down to the valley floor. Wood Thrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Northern Catbird, American Robin, and Song Sparrow dominated the chorus and a Turkey gobbles a few times in the background. American Crows were flying across the forest headed northwest, and they called a few times on their travels.
  • Tufted Titmouse: A Tufted Titmouse opens with its “Peter-Peter” song and shifts half way through the recording to a double whistle.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker chatters in the background and American Crows fly by.
  • Carolina Wren: A Carolina Wren sings along the edge of a creek. A Northern Catbird, Song Sparrow, Wood Thrush, and Acadian Flycatcher sing in the background. 
  • Wood Thrush: Several Wood Thrushes sing their flute like calls along the edge of Shaffer Run. 
  • Acadian Flycatcher: The Acadian Flycatcher sat on a dead branch right over the stream. It gave out its whistle call from that perch, occasional turning to face a different direction.
  • Northern Catbird: A Northern Catbird sings its complex song from 30 feet up in a small tree, occasionally shifting a few feet around the canopy to look in a different direction.
  • Song Sparrow: The Song Sparrow sat on a dead branch fifteen feet above the ground along the dirt road. Every few seconds it would sing the same song eight times before switching to a different song. Often individual male Song Sparrows have eight or nine different melodies that they chance up. An Acadian Flycatcher and a Wood Thrush call in the background.

Todd Nature Reserve is a beautiful piece of deciduous forest in Western Pennsylvania. I spent two summers as a Naturalist for the Western Pennsylvania Audubon Society and have fond memories of the morning chorus of birds and frogs. This 85-minute recording was done by the pond. It starts before first light and goes to about an hour after sunrise.

Ocean Waves: Winter Surf at Rialto Beach

Ocean waves ramble onto shore at regular intervals. Often three or four bigger breakers will hit the beach followed by three to six smaller ones. Consequently, listening to ocean waves is one of the most relaxing sounds for humans and pets. The sloshing of water as it tumbles up the beach and then runs back to the ocean creates beautiful music. 

This album has ten tracks recorded along Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. This remote wilderness beach is far from human-made sounds and has a diversity of shoreline. The tide variation in December, when the recordings were made, is more than ten feet. Some parts of the shore are sand, others cobble, and others solid rock.

The Soundscape of Mt. Totumas Cloud Forest, Panama

Montane forests cover this high range in Western Panama. April is the transition between dry and rainy seasons and when many birds begin to breed. This collection of 20 recordings covers a variety of places during early April and includes numerous songs of birds, monkeys, and insects.

I recorded these sounds while staying at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. It is a preserve at 1900 m and is just on the west side of the continental divide. A virtual tour of this magnificent place is available here.

Track 1: (1:42:00) Dawn chorus near the legacy tree. This is an area of mixed age forest with a bench overlooking younger a forest. The recording started before dawn and captured the changing sounds as the forest woke up. 

Track 2: (28:39) Dawn chorus at the grande aquacata tree. The big tree loop winds deep into the montane forest and along the far end grows a huge aquacata tree. This recording started right at dawn and captured the first thirty minutes of the forest coming awake.

Track 3: (2:03) Barred Forest-Falcon. Captured by the big aquacata tree, a barred forest falcon called for several minutes as if it was announcing how happy it was that a new day had begun.

Track 4: (5:00) Dawn Chorus – La Amistad 1. La Amistad International Park abuts Mt. Totumas Cloud Forest Preserve and is a leisurely morning walk. This recording was made soon after dawn a little way into the park.  

Track 5: (5:18) Dawn Chorus – La Amistad 2. La Amistad International Park abuts Mt. Totumas Cloud Forest Preserve and is an easy early morning walk. This recording was made not too long after dawn farther into the park.

Track 6: (9:40) Black-faced Solitaire. The Black-faced Solitaire is a member of the thrush family and a spectacular songster.

Track 7: (10:00) An Afternoon Thunderstorm. A storm moves across the forest with dense fog and light rain. The birds, frogs, and insects respond in full chorus, giving a beautiful afternoon musical experience. 

Track 8: (15:44) Dusk Chorus by Legacy Tree. As dusk settles across the mountains, many birds sing their evening songs before retiring.

Track 9: (2:17) Night Insects & Swainson’s Thrush. As the day begins to fade, the night insects increase their activity, and the Swainson’s Thrushes start to practice their songs. 

Track 10: (2:20) Dink Frogs. A small frog with a loud voice.

Track 11: (5:09) Dawn Chorus near Legacy Tree 2. The early morning songs of the birds fill the forest with a sweet melody that is relaxing and exciting at the same time.

Track 12: (4:00) Swainson’s Thrush. Swainson’s Thrushes stop in Panama on their northward migration from wintering grounds in South America to breeding areas in the United States and Canada. In between feeding bouts to fatten for their next flight, they practice their songs and chip regularly. 

Track 13: (10:40) A Montane Forest Evening. The forest prepares for darkness.

Track 14: (4:12) Ruby-capped Nightingale Thrush. This thrush is another spectacular songster that fills the forest with a beautiful melody. This bird is unusually shy, and often its song is all that one can detect.

Track 15: (5:28) Three-wattled Bellbird. This is one of the loudest birds in the world. Bellbirds have a dispersed lek, and the males are spread across a broad band of the forest right through the middle of Mt. Totumas Preserve.

Track 16: (5:15) Birds & Insects. Birds and Insects divide the acoustic environment of the forest in some interesting ways.

Track 17: (1:44) Quetzal Display. A pair of Resplended Quetzals began to court right over my head, and I was able to capture their love songs. 

Track 18: (3:05) Rufous-browed Peppershrike. This bird has a call that penetrates the forest and is distinctive.

Track 19: (2:52) Bright-rumped Attila. A member of the flycatcher family that is often hard to see until you hear its call.

Track 20: (6:48) Howler Monkeys. The dawn or evening chorus of Howler Monkeys is one of the most beautiful sounds of the tropics. They sound happy, full of life, like a family together for a good party.

Bird Songs of the Okanogan Highlands

The Okanogan Highlands is a mountainous region in the northern part of the Columbia Basin. This rural country goes from sagebrush habitat in the lowlands to forests at higher elevations. The bird life is abundant in rural Washington. These recordings were made in several sites near Havillah and Chesaw. 

Track 1: (1:11:25 )Dawn Chorus at Burge Mountain: This area rises out of prairie and pasture habitats into mixed coniferous forests. The track highlights an American Robin singing its morning melody and has some other species making an appearance. In the background, Ravens, Western Bluebirds, Northern Flickers, Song Sparrows, and many others sing and chatter.

Track 2: (1:41:35) Dawn Chorus on the Havillah Prairie: The recording site overlooked two large pastures that had well-developed hedgerows along their fences. A Vesper Sparrow is the prominent singer in this, and it takes some breaks from being on stage to allow others to include their tunes. Other species include American Robins, Yellow-breasted Chats, Western Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, flycatchers, and others can be heard during these interludes.

Track 3: (6:11) Birds at Teal Lake: Teal Lake is a beautiful high country lake with forests along one side, pastures along another, and a dirt road running along one edge. Yellow-headed and Red-winged blackbirds nest in the vegetation along the shore and numerous species worked through the brushy shoreline. This recording was done late in the day, as the sun was setting and the light beginning to fade.

Track 4: (1:23:50) Evening Serenade of two Swainson’s Thrushes: The light was just about gone, and two thrushes were trying to outdo each other. Both gave beautiful performances of their great flute-like tune. Even with a small cloud of mosquitos buzzing my head, I stood still to just take in the concert. There is nothing like an excellent serenade to mark the end of a beautiful day in the wild.

Track 5: (2:26) Begging calls of a Great Gray Owl Chick: Sometimes a walk in the woods can provide one of the most remarkable wonders of a lifetime. In this case, I heard the faint begging of a bird not far off the trail as I was hurrying back to the car. The light was fading quickly, and the mosquito herd was increasing rapidly, but I had to look a little closer. Three chicks sat high in the conifers, and one was yelling, “Feed me, feed me, I’m hungry.”