Saturday, July 30, 2016

Recording The Multiple Sounds Of Nature


Sugarloaf Mountain: Brandon Kein writes for Nautilus: “Krause’s microphone perched beside a creek, recording a dawn chorus, in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, California.”
Photo Credit: Brandon Keim
Source: Nautilus

An article, by Brandon Keim, in Nautilus discusses not only how one man has found a way to decode Nature's sounds, but also explains why each sound is important. In “Decoding Nature’s Soundtrack” (July 21, 2016), Keim writes:
At this particular moment in Earth’s history—the morning of what some scientists call the Anthropocene, an age in which human influence on natural processes is ubiquitous and immense—we have many tools to measure our ecological impacts: by eye, generally, focusing on particular species or guilds of interest, counting them in the field, peering by satellite at changes in land use, and translating our observations into the language of habitat type and biodiversity.

To Krause, these are measurements best made by listening to natural soundscapes. In a career of listening and recording, he’s amassed a veritable Library of Alexandria of nature’s sounds, and he emphasizes that they’re not merely recordings of individual creatures. The traditional approach of bioacoustics, focusing on single animals and species, is anathema. It’s “decontextualizing and fragmenting,” he says, like trying to extract a single violin from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. “Take an instrument out of the performance, and try to understand the whole performance, and you don’t get very much,” he says.
Near where I reside is a public park with a forested area, where many birds, rodents and even coyotes make their home. It has more five kilometres (about three miles) of trials. Despite signs warning of coyotes, I have yet to encounter any. I have, however, heard the distinctive sounds of rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks and birds such as robins, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and mallards nearby when I walk in the forested area of the park, which I tend to do daily with my family in the summer.

We have also encountered, on rare occasions, the yellow warbler and the Baltimore oriole and not seen but heard the tapping sound of the woodpecker. We can never predict on our walks what new species we will encounter, but we can say that in most cases the sights and sounds of nature are pleasant and balm for a mind and soul made tired by too many unpleasant man-made and artificial sounds.

For more, go to [Nautilus]

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