Boidnoise

Various nature recordings by Bernhard Kroeger

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  • This owl woke me on the evening of January 8, 2009.  It was calling loudly, and I had never heard a 6 note call from a great-horned owl before, only 4 note and 5 note.  I hurried, threw on a coat, and went on the deck with my recording gear and was able to get a series of calls before the owl quit or moved on.  The recording was made at my home on Banner Mountain, near Nevada City, CA.

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  • While visiting a friend in Seattle this January I decided to see if I could find some trumpeter swans which I heard wintered in the Skagit Valley north of Seattle.  A quick computer search yielded this website and all the information I needed to start looking.  After much waiting and finger crossing at the

    observation area at the end of De Bay Isle Road, east of Mt. Vernon, a pair of swans flew over and their calls, heard by me for the first time, were unmistakable and thrilling.  What an aptly named bird. I was not able to record this flyover and decided to explore the area to see if I could find an area where there were swans that were more accessible. Not far from this site Highway 9 crosses the Skagit River, and in a big field just on the north-west side of the river, a large group of trumpeter swans were grazing on fresh greenery. They were too far away to record and the highway is very busy with noisy truck traffic. Groups of swans were flying into the field and bugling, but the highway noise was so loud it was nothing but frustration. I decided to return early the next morning and get as far away from the road as I could and try again.
    The next morning I stopped at the De Bay Isle Road observation area and waited for the sun to come up. The temp was in the high twenties and I was glad to see it.  After light hunters started to blast away in the distance and not long after trumpeter swans came over flying into the direction of Highway 9. While monitoring the recording I was struck by an odd ratcheting noise that coincided with the swan’s wingbeats, about 3.5-4 beats per second. I’m not sure what causes this noise, but I suspect it has something to do with the movement of their primaries as they beat their wings. This “ratcheting” could be heard from all flying swans that I observed.

    The following is a fly-over of two groups of swans. The “ratcheting” noise can be heard, as well as traffic noise and a chattering belted kingfisher at the end.

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    A fly-over demonstrating the wing sound only.  This recording is a bit noisy.

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    Another fly-over, but more traffic noise.

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    Along one edge of the field was a tree farm and I used it as cover to try to get closer to the group of swans that were grazing in the field and away from the traffic. As I carefully advanced I came upon a group of 12 swans that were swimming and bathing in a water filled depression that had been invisible. The birds were alert and aware of my presence but not alarmed. This was a good opportunity to record them while at rest.

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    I continued recording these twelve birds until a portion of them decided to join the group that was grazing further in the field.  A train can be heard off and on at the  beginning and takeoff is at approximately 3 minutes

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  • Today, November 10, 2008, I was trying to find and record white-headed woodpeckers along the CYA Road, above Nevada City, CA.  While I was recording a white-headed woodpecker tapping along the bark of a living incense cedar sapling, two common ravens flew by just over the edge towards the Yuba River Canyon.  Their wings can be heard on this 7 second snippet.  Again, listening with earphones results in more detail.

    SD-722 Telinga dish, twin science microphone

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  • Calls of an adult bald eagle perching on a snag overlooking Prosser Reservoir (~5,700 feet) on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Nevada County, CA.  This was recorded on the morning of November 12, 2008.  On the previous day friends and I visited the area looking to add to the Big Year Count.  At this site there were 3 adult and one immature bald eagle at one time.  An attempt to record calls was marred by both traffic noise from Interstate 80 and off-road motorcycles in the area.  I returned this morning about 0730 when a thin fog blanketed the area.  By 0900 it had burned off and around 1000 an adult bald eagle flew into the snag.

    The eagle had two series of calls about 45 minutes apart, and departed to the West shortly after the last vocalization.  For the sake of brevity both calls appear one after the other in the audio file.  At the end the wingbeats, 3-4 per second, can be heard.  The beats are also accompanied by a whistling sound as the primaries cut through the air.  For the last bit headphones will help. Traffic noise from I-80, 2 miles away, can still be heard in the background.

    SD-722 Telinga dish, and twin science microphone

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  • recorded at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Refuge from the observation platform with the Telinga dish, twin science microphone and the SD722 recorder.  It was a sunny day with many hunters shooting in the background.  There is a mass takeoff and excitement at approx 1:45.

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  • recorded on the night of June 2-3, 2007 on Mosquito Ridge Road in Placer County, CA with a Marantz PMD-671 recorder and a Telinga dish and twin science microphone.  This is a clear, good quality mostly single hoot recording with a slight echoing quality.

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    this was taken a little later of a different owl.  The quality of the hoot is much different than the one above.  Between 00:05 and 00:10 there are faint audible clicks.  I don’t know if bats can emit clicks that are audible to humans, but bats were flying in the area at the time.

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  • Jon Winter kindly sent me a copy of his Some Critical Notes On Finding And Seeing The Flammulated Owland allowed me to include it on this website.

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  • recorded on July 19, 2007 at on the Lower Cascade Ditch in Nevada City, CA at 2235 with a Foster FR-2LE recorder and Telinga dish with twin science microphone.

    This is the 5 note call typical of the great-horned owl.

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  • recorded in Nevada County with  Fostex FR-2LE Telinga dish and twin science mic on July 20, 2007 at 0120.  This recording is 3:32 minutes long and contains 7 5 note territorial calls of a spotted owl.  There is roughly 30 sec of silence between calls, just as in real life.  It is a thrill to be able to see and hear these birds.  As most owls, they are capable of a mindblowing variation of utterances and vocalizations, and I don’t begin to understand what they might mean.  This call is faintly reminiscent of a neighborhood dog barking in the night, and most people would not be aware that they were listening to an owl.

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  • recorded with a Zoom H2 (see Equipment header above) which was set up on a tripod near my feeder which is stocked with black sunflower seeds year round.  This little snippet was lifted from a long recording.  The feeder has a steady stream of birds coming to it, and often there is a “line” and like people, some try to take “cuts” and feathers get ruffled.

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