THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

2 posts from September 2012

25 September 2012

Recording of the week: Golden Oriole

Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, writes:

In 1938, wildlife sound recordist Ludwig Koch collaborated with Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother of the Belgians, on a recording project that brought together the songs & calls of 25 birds commonly found across Belgium. In his autobiography, ‘Memoirs of a Birdman’, Ludwig Koch spoke about his attempts to record the song of the Golden Oriole, Oriolus oriolus:

“I was facing a group of poplar trees and experience has taught me that the Golden Oriole likes these trees and is often hidden in their tops. I started to play a Golden Oriole recording, and after half an hour there came an answer from one of the Poplar trees. Some days later I was able to record this bird’s fine call, which suggests the words 'The cherries are ripe'."

http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/Early-wildlife-recordings/022M-1SS0001929XX-AFACV0 

Golden Oriole

These recordings formed the heart of the sound book ‘Les Oiseaux Chanteurs de Laeken’ (Singing Birds of Laeken) which comprised 4 double-sided discs and an accompanying 80 page book. Not intended for the commercial market, these early identification guides were donated to over 20,000 schools across the country.

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the British Library Sounds website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This recording is part of the Early Wildlife Recordings collection.

03 September 2012

Recording of the week: African Paradise Flycatcher

Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, writes:

The African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis, is an impressive little songbird, both visually and acoustically. Male plumage is usually a combination of smoky grey and a rich tawny chestnut, although colour morphs do occur, and the cascading tail feathers measure almost three times the length of the bird’s body.

African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)

The typical song is loud and liquid in nature, comprising phrases of 5-6 notes that are usually repeated with some degree of variation depending on the individual. Like many songbirds with wide distributions, the male song is incredibly varied, both individually and geographically and regional accents occur across its range that covers almost all of sub-Saharan Africa.

http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/Listen-to-Nature/022M-LISTNAT00322-0001V0

The above extract features the dawn song of a male African Paradise Flycatcher recorded by David Watts during November 1984 at Giants Castle Reserve, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Set against a backdrop of birds and insects, the strident song of this energetic songster dominates the scene and gives the listener a small glimpse into the sounds of a South African savanna at dawn.

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the British Library Sounds website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This recording is part of the Listen to Nature collection.

(Image: Ruslou / Flickr)