Experience the Soundscape

Sit back, put your headphones on, and immerse yourself in the sounds of dawn near Lake Tahoe, California.

Photo: DrewtheHobbit. Audio: Gregory F. Budney/Macaulay Library
Imagine yourself in a meadow surrounded by tall pines.

It’s dawn and the birds are warming up.

We’re in the Tahoe National Forest in Northern California near some of the Sierra’s tallest peaks.

I love this recording because it has such a diverse mix of forest and open habitat species.

You’ll notice right away that each voice has a unique quality, but don’t get overwhelmed, we’ll take it step-by-step.

[Birds singing and calling]
End of transcript

Learn Through Soundscapes

When it comes down to really learning bird song, it is important to go outside. We’re offering the next best thing. The natural soundscapes in this course are a powerful way to prepare for identifying birds in the field.

Expert Tips from Greg Budney
Greg Budney
Greg Budney
Collections Development Curator

“When listening to sound in the field it’s useful to concentrate on the sounds that are at the limits of the range of your hearing. More often than not, the really interesting sounds, the unusual sounds, are not those close at hand. Rather, they’re at some distance, and by training yourself to listen to those distant sounds, you’ll likely find the rarities and definitely learn new sounds.”

Fun Fact: Greg captured this soundscape during one of his yearly workshops on how to record natural sound. In his many years of travel to record and teach, Greg has developed an excellent ear—and not just for birds. He once identified a mystery recording a colleague sent him as “the sound of exposed barnacles when they close”—a sound Greg had first heard in Alaska about a year prior.

Now explore the featured birds from the High Sierra: