Invitation to a Concert at the Pond

Greetings, everyone! Lisa Rainsong here. I’m a professional musician who is also a naturalist. When I’m not in the classroom teaching music theory or performing onstage as a professional singer, I’m probably out in the field recording the songs of birds, crickets, katydids, amphibians, and anything else that “sings.” When Lang invited me … [Read more...]

Singing Robin Success!

I have been planning to put together a NatureWatch profile featuring the American Robin, but I've been missing some really good singing sequences. So on this clear-sky early April morning, I set out to remedy the situation ... and what good luck I had! I arrived at the "Cornell Plantations Arboretum" area promptly at 7am, just before the sun … [Read more...]

Robin Drops Berry

Hi all! I was out this morning testing my video gear and I came across a robin feeding on the over-wintered berries of a Bittersweet vine, growing in an apple tree. I thought that I'd snatched a nice clip showing him swallowing a berry, but when I viewed it later in my studio, I was surprised to discover that he actually dropped the berry ... … [Read more...]

Cat Concern

Everyone knows that house cats and wild birds are not the best of friends. Cats that wander yards and forest edge are likely to pick off a lot of birds, especially vulnerable young at fledging time. Follow a cat around and you're sure to discover that adult birds pay close attention to the cat's movements, and respond with alarm calls that key you … [Read more...]

Hawk, Robin, and Wren

Given that I've been working the theme of animals giving alarm calls in the presence of hawks, I can't help but post the following recording that I made with the help of my friend Karen Edelstein. Last July, Karen alerted me that immature Red-tailed Hawks were frequently perching and calling in the woods behind her house. So I showed up one … [Read more...]

American Robin Dawn Song

I used to chase after birds with a parabolic reflector, trying to get the closest and cleanest recordings possible. The idea was to to "slice the bird out of its environment," so that only one singer would be heard in the recording, with minimal reverberation. I lost interest in this rather sterile approach a number of years ago, even though such … [Read more...]

Robin Brook

Common, well-known birds are sometimes the most difficult to characterize with recordings, especially if one desires to convey the mood evoked by the bird's song. The ubiquitous and well-known American Robin certainly falls into this category. Robins are easy to record because they sing loudly and prominently. But I've discovered that close and … [Read more...]

American Robin Winterberry Feast

Winter came late to New York’s Finger Lakes in 2009; it was mild into November and we didn’t get our first serious snow until halfway through December. As usual, by then most of the songbirds of summer were just a memory, but certain species always linger those that birders refer to fondly as “half-hardy”. Birds such as the Eastern Bluebird, … [Read more...]