Organic sonic delights

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Forget your free jazz, ignore your love of power-pop and release yourself from the shackles of man-made sound!

The Macaulay Library is the world’s largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings.

While the collection is primarily dedicated to Ornithology, (with birds being the most audible culprits) there are a wealth of non-bird species, as well as videos.  From the Cornell website:

It took archivists a dozen years to complete the monumental task. The collection contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There’s an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.”

10 terabytes!!!  Start your visit here, where the staff have hand-selected some of their favorite sounds.  Might I suggest a few of my favorites as well?

Lesser Flamingo, Osprey, Red-tailed Comet, Yellow-billed Loon, and the Common Potoo.

I must admit a certain life-long fascination with recorded animal sounds.  This probably explains why this has been one of my favorite cd’s for the last 15 years.  It’s amazing stuff.

The range of human sound is often predictable and homogenous.  Most of it is made to fulfill the rigors of commerce.  These recording, though, have a real purpose, something that helps the animal perform some function.

I know when humans go into the woods the deal is to “leave no trace“, I try to take that one step further and “make no sound“.  Harder than it sounds (particularly with children), but it can be rewarding to catch an audio glimpse of something that is both otherworldly and completely natural.

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