Say What, Again? Awesome Nature Sound Libraries

by Tracy Wasserman, Senior Assistant, INALJ Florida

Say What, Again? Awesome Nature Sound Libraries

IMG_4385In a previous post, I shared some truly wonderful oral history libraries of all kinds that capture the major events of humankind through the collective voices of those who lived through them. But what about the voices of our animal friends? Have you ever heard wondered what bird is making that particularly pleasing sound in your backyard? Or expanding your world further, where you can find the natural world voices of the world’s rainforests, the American West, or the African Savanna? I give you some awesome online nature sound libraries:

1. Macaulay Library: This one is for the birds! Presented by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Macaulay Library, which contains more than 175,000 audio recordings of 75% of the world’s bird species, will have you loving birds! Listen to the Redhead Duck, the Scaly-Breasted Wren, and the Montezuma Oropendola, for example. The library also includes an increasing number of insect, fish, frog, and mammal recordings. You can submit your own nature sound recordings to be archived, and/or attend the library’s sound recording workshops to gain hands-on experience in recording technique and theory. You can also order digital audio guides from the library’s online store, some for free, such as this Bird Songs of Florida sampler!

2. Acoustic Atlas: An initiative of the Montana State University Library, this online library features the natural world sounds of the American West. Here you will find the voices of the Boreal Chorus Frog, the American Beaver, and the Coyote. Browse recordings by title or species, and/or listen to interviews with noted biologists, entomologists, and other scientists on the significance of many animal and insect sounds.

3. Listening to Nature: A Sound Walk Across California: From the Oakland Museum of California’s Library of Natural Sounds, this online version of the museum’s Walk Across California galley will have you exploring the many and varied nature sounds of the Sierran Foothills, the California Coastal Mountains, and the Central Valley. Be prepared to be awed and amazed!

4. British Library Sounds: The British Library has one of the world’s largest sound collections covering a broad range of subjects. Its Environment and Nature library includes bird, amphibian, and mammal, reptile and insect sounds from all over the world. Hear Haddock knocking sounds (yes, fish can talk!), Koala grunts, and the call of the Indian Gharial (fish-eating crocodile). It’s all here for your listening pleasure!

Library sound collections are crucial to the study and preservation of our environment. Explore these libraries so the next time you hear an unfamiliar and intriguing natural world sound, you’ll be able to identify it, and understand and appreciate the significance and importance of sound to the survival of most animal species.