Bird Sound Recording Page
Last updated 11 May 2010
Make your own recordings of bird sounds!
Why Record Bird Sounds?

Recording bird sounds is a great way to study the identity and life history of species you hear in your backyard or in the field.

While professionally recorded bird sounds on CDs or online are an important learning tool, they are unable to offer an extensive range of songs and calls for each species*.  Geographic, seasonal and daily variation in bird sounds can be recorded, as well as differences between gender and age groups. Also, basic daily sounds involved with social interactions, response to predators, and even sounds which indicate an individual bird's well-being, can be recorded and archived for personal study or sharing with others.

*For example,
The Birds of North America Online offers 3 pages of written descriptions on Steller's Jay vocalizations, most studied in Alameda and Contra Costa County!
My students often ask me what equipment I use to record bird sounds.  I own two recorders. I recently purchased a hand-held digital recorder, the Sony PCM-D50 Linear PCM recorder (as seen in the photo). I have been happy with the quality of the bird sound recordings I have made so far. Cute little wind screen, too!

I also use an old
Marantz PMD201 Cassette Recorder with a Sennheiser shotgun mic, which has suited me well over the years, but cassettes tapes  are getting harder to find when I'm recording on the road, and the battery for this mic even more difficult to track down.

I'm a Mac user, so my next step in the recording process is to upload my recordings into iTunes, then edit them in Garage Band.  To make additional edits and quick sonograms I use the free download
Raven Lite. - All very low-pro, but great for sharing avian sounds with friends, students and online.

For more information about equipment for bird sound recording, check out
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's audio equipment pdf.
Cornell Audio Workshop

Interested in learning more about recording bird sounds? Consider the
Cornell Audio Workshop for the serious student of wildlife and bird sound recording.  Held in June in Yuba Pass/Sierra Valley area of California's beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range.  This location is amazingly rich in bird sounds. I've been recording there since 1993.
Join the Nature Sound Society!
My Bird Recordings
I use
SoundCloud to upload my bird sounds online.  My first is the dawn song of a Western Bluebird.   Next is the "Sneeze Call" of Califonia Quail from my neighborhood!  My recording of a juvenile Great Horned Owl from Valle Vista in Moraga has been popular, with over 10,000 hits.  I have recently added a couple of spring listening exercises here, too.

I have also posted the calls of
Tricolored Blackbirds from Brentwood, and the "kicker call" of a female Virgina Rail from Olema Marsh in Marin County on xeno-canto.   Outside the Bay Area, I have recorded Lawrence's Goldfinch in Kern County. 
Yellow-breasted Chat             Photo by Dave Furseth
Icteria virens