Learning about Animal Sounds
This evening at the Roger Tory Peterson Ornithological Club, we had Greg Budney present a program on Animal Sounds. Greg is the Director of the Sound Collections from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Don’t expect the Macaulay Library to be your typical library because they have very few books on their shelves! They have the largest archive of animal sounds and associated video located anywhere in the world. You can find the natural behavior/vocalizations from the large whale to your local tiny leaf hopper. They have a very long hisotry of inventorying from way back when the lab first originated.
I had an opportunity to visit the library back in 1997 when working on some studies with post nesting vocalizations of the Veery. The staff was extremely helpful with our numerous goofball questions and they gave us a wonderful tour of their facilities (3 years ago they moved into a new building). After leaving the Library, we felt more confident in capturing the needed data for the project but funding never became available and we only collected some preliminary data for the project!
Greg Budney’s program this evening didn’t consist of any slides or pictures but we solely used our ears for this program. He played some sounds from animal that are commonly heard in movies to very low frequencies of the alligator which show vibrations of water before hearing the sound. We learned how researchers use these sounds for endangered species and discovered how insects use vibrations for communications. Best part of the program was learning what a researcher accidentally hitting another research’s head with a paddle (waking them up) sounds like over the microphone. Greg was a wonderful speaker and he helped remind me how important it is to use our ears while out in the field. While leaving the Roger Tory Peterson Institute we heard a Spring Peepers vocalizing behind the building (Linda and a few others at the meeting talked about hearing these guys squeaking, glad to have heard them also).
Do visit the Macaulay Library free online Animal Behavior Archive website.