Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds

Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds
Ornithologists and bird watchers rejoice. After a dozen years, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library has fully digitized its nearly 150,000 audio recordings (a total running time of 7,513 hours), representing close to 9,000 different species, such as the very unsettling-sounding Barred Owl (above). While the collection also includes the sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates, and other animals, the primary emphasis here is on birds (it is a Lab of Ornithology, after all), and there is an incredible range of calls. Cornell recommends some of the highlights below:

Earliest recording: Cornell Lab founder Arthur Allen was a pioneer in sound recording. On a spring day in 1929 he recorded this Song Sparrow sounding much as they do today

Youngest bird: This clip from 1966 records the sounds of an Ostrich chick while it is still inside the egg – and the researchers as they watch

Liveliest wake-up call: A dawn chorus in tropical Queensland, Australia is bursting at the seams with warbles, squeals, whistles, booms and hoots

Best candidate to appear on a John Coltrane record: The indri, a lemur with a voice that is part moan, part jazz clarinet

Most spines tingled: The incomparable voice of a Common Loon on an Adirondacks lake in 1992

Most erratic construction project: the staccato hammering sounds of a walrus under water

Most likely to be mistaken for aliens arriving: Birds-of-paradise make some amazing sounds – here’s the UFO-sound of a Curl-crested Manucode in…
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