Sound and vision blog

10 August 2009

Recording of the Week: Booming Bittern

One of the rarest sounds of the British countryside is the booming call of the Bittern, a bird belonging to the heron family. A shy dweller of wetland areas, it was driven to the very edge of extinction in the UK  - in 1997 the national population was at its lowest, with only 11 booming males being identified. Thankfully, improved habitat management and reedbed conservation has resulted in an increase in numbers and today around 75 breeding males are thought to exist. Follow the link to listen to the booming calls of this elusive bird.

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, selected by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected from the British Wildlife Recordings collection by Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife Sounds at the British Library Sound Archive. It was recorded in May 1966 in Norfolk, England, by Lawrence Shove.


Thank you for this. I've heard these in the wetlands of north-east Germany but never England. At first I thought it was some picnicking Pomeranian, idly blowing across the top of a beer bottle.

Thanks David, now I know what a picnicking Pomeranian sounds like. In England, Leighton Moss in Lancashire and Minsmere in Suffolk, both RSPB reserves, are good places to hear Bitterns in spring and early summer.

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