For the Birds Radio Program: Bird Recordings, Part II (Recordings of foreign birds)
Last time I talked about bird recordings to help you learn the birds we see here in the northland. But there is a big world out there, with thousands of birds, from Resplendent Quetzals to penguins, and recordings of an amazing number of species are available. The best single provider of bird recordings is the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, which has produced some fabulous CDs through their Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. One amazing CD, called The Diversity of Animal Sounds , includes an amazing array of natural sounds, from humpback whales to chimpanzees, and alligators to kookaburras. I particularly treasure this recording for including recordings of the Ivory-hilled Woodpecker and Kauai Oo, two species that tragically became extinct during my lifetime. It also includes a recording of one of the most beautiful bird songs on the planet , the Musician Wren.
Cornell has produced some other fabulous CDs and CD sets recently, some about areas in North America, such as Bird Songs of Florida , Bird Songs of Alaska, Bird Songs of Southeastern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, Bird Songs of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Bird Songs of the Pacific States, and Bird Songs of the Rocky Mountains , and some from more distant lands.
There are at least three from my beloved Costa Rica: Costa Rican Bird Song Sampler, which includes 184 of the most commonly heard sounds in Costa Rica; Voices of Costa Rican Birds- Caribbean Slope, which has 220 species including many more rare birds than are on the sampler; and Voices of the Cloud Forest, which was put together in a very enjoyable way, with the first 50 tracks sounding like an uninterrupted chorus of wild sounds, keyed to a booklet, and then tracks 51 through 98 of the same sounds, now including narration to explain what is happening over the course of a morning in the cloud forest. I particularly love this recording because a Resplendent Quetzal sings over and over, and makes flight calls as it leaves-I feel as if l were really there.
Cornell has also produced three volumes of the Voices of Amazonian Birds, each with 99 species , and two volumes of Voices of Andean Birds. I Jove listening to the strange and exotic species, many like nothing we could ever hear in Minnesota. On a cold winter’s day, it’s lovely to sit hack with a cup of cocoa and imagine being in the Amazonian tropics.
All of these fine recordings are available from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, along with a host of other bird recordings . You can check out their offerings at www.birds.cornell.edu