Robin Brook

photo of American Robin by Lang ElliottCommon, 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 loud recordings don’t do the song justice—what we remember as comforting and musical ends up jolting our ears.

The soothing quality of the robin’s song can only be conveyed when it is part of a larger and more inclusive soundscape. The singer should be at a distance where the song is richly reverberant, its sharp edges smoothed. This is the way we generally hear robin songs, drifting into our windows at dawn, gently begging us from sleep.

Is capturing such magic an impossible goal? I think not. Consider the following recording that I made last spring in nearby Shindagin Hollow. I set my microphone next to a trickling brook and waited. I could hear a distant Wood Thrush. Soon a robin joined in, singing from several hundred feet away. The mix of sound was intensely pleasurable and I beamed with delight as I made my recording:

A babbling brook with a distant American Robin, 4:37 am, 14 June 2010, Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.

This soundscape definitely fits into the relaxation category. I would love to rise each dawn to such a concert. The babbling brook is mesmerizing. The robin is at the perfect distance, it’s songs richly reverberant. The thrush is also a key player, providing a subtle yet beautifully melodic element to the composition.

I would put this soundscape near the top of the list for relaxation and stress relief. Would you?

Comments

  1. Deb Johnson says:

    Wow! Your recording is so amazing! I live in Alexandria MN .
    I love to get up early in the morning in Spring and early summer and listen to Robins Dawn Chorus and record them. So so peaceful and relaxing and I listen for individual voices which you can single out. I have made many recordings of Dawn Choruses with not only robins but White-throated Sparrows, Gray catbirds, Chipping and Song and Fox Sparrows. I even get Baltimore Orioles in some of the Dawn Choruses!!
    I can listen to Dawn Choruses on my digital recorder in the winter!!!!
    I thank you do much for putting your recordings on line where I and people all over have the ability to listen to your
    Spectacular recordings!

    • Thanks Deb!

      In mid-February we will be launching our newly-designed site that will feature our growing collection of “premium pure nature soundscape titles” offered for sale as digital downloads. In other words, you’ll be able to get hold of our best immersive nature recordings and play them whenever and wherever you like … on computers, iPhones, whatever devices that work for you.

  2. October winds down in the northeast, summer robins depart, so I return to favorite s here to ease my transition. Something of cadence in Robin’s voice with the succor of heartbeat, or pearls on a strand with space for touch to rest between each one, a garland of music; until spring, little friends. Thank you, Lang!

  3. I agree! Why are there only a few comments here? In the future, we need to have EVERYONE commenting. Heck, why not?

  4. trbirdnerd says:

    Why are there only 2 comments to this? I like this recording. I’ve heard robins here in Michigan at about 5 AM before, and I have to admit their echoes are nice.

  5. Wil Hershberger says:

    Mesmerizing! Simply Mesmerizing.

  6. Melissa Groo says:

    This takes me instantly to springtime, Lang, despites the mountains of snow in Shindagin right now, I can feel myself transported. And is utterly relaxing and soothing. You’ll have to point that spot out to me sometime, that particular babbling brook.

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