Words Cannot Describe

photo of Hermit Thrush by Lang ElliottWords cannot adequately describe the following recording—to even try to put words to it would mute its brilliance, dampen its magic. I only ask that you relax into this soundscape, that you sink your being into this unbelievable mix of sounds.

Rest assured there are no tricks here, no layering of recordings. This sound-event really did happen, just as you hear it, in dawn’s early light, at the edge of a northern bog:

A choir of Hermit Thrushes, with Coyotes and lone Barred Owl. 5:30am, 25 June 2000, in the Adirondacks, not far from Tupper Lake, NY. Recording © Lang Elliott.

Maybe you’re different from me. Maybe you’re unaffected. This recording takes my breath away. I can scarcely believe I made it. I can scarcely believe I just found it (yet another jewel I had overlooked!).

Listen for: A veritable choir of Hermit Thrushes, Coyotes, a Barred Owl, subtle Green Frogs and Bullfrogs, a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Lincoln’s Sparrow (I think), one White-throated Sparrow (toward end), plus a few other soundmakers (tell me what else you hear!).


  1. I hear Bullfrogs, Hermit Thrushes, Green Frogs, an Ovenbird, Coyotes, the possible Lincoln’s Sparrow, the Barred Owl, White-Throated Sparrows, some sort of fly near the microphone, the Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher. I agree, that to describe it in words would its brilliance. Totally. I’ve never heard anything like this in real life at all. Just once, I thought I also heard a junco.

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