The Meditative Sounds of Evening Grosbeaks

Author Matthew A. Young: Last week I had the great pleasure to spend a morning in the field with sound recordist Lang Elliot. The goal was to bring Lang to a location to record a flock of Evening Grosbeaks, the darlings of the finches. I’ve known this location (and family) for 20+ years, and it’s in a nice, quiet, remote hillside setting, surrounded by a beautiful forest on all sides. Lang is a well-known sound recordist and many of the Apps out there have some of Lang’s recordings. His website is a named “Music of Nature.”. He’s particularly interested in recording and creating soundscapes that connect people to sounds for their enjoyment. Skip below if you just want to listen to the recording.

In general, there is an ever-growing field of research that tells us why connecting to nature feels good, and for some, connects them at a deeply spiritual level. University of Washington environmental psychologist Gregory Bratman, led a recent review of findings across social and health sciences. “Evidence is there to support the conclusion that contact with nature benefits our mood, our psychological well-being, our mental health, and our cognitive functioning,” he says. The power of natural sound is a big part of that, and it changed my life in my mid 20s when I realized I had good ears for listening to, and identifying birds and other natural sounds. The transformative powers of nature can take hold in someone at both the intellectual and emotional levels… didn’t hurt that I was working in Yellowstone when this happened to me. And now, around the world, the soothing sounds of birdsong are used as therapy. The natural tunes decrease stress while possibly invigorating the mind. Last week this Birdnote Audubon online article was posted on the Ornitherapy Facebook page.

Here’s the binaural Lang Elliot recording from last week featuring a large flock of around 80+ Evening Grosbeaks gathering near a feeder on a breezy morning. Recorded around 8am, 28 February 2021, in the forested hills just south of near Deruyter, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please listen with headphones for an immersive 3D effect.

I might be somewhat biased, but I’ve always found the clee-ip’ing sounds of Evening Grosbeaks to be meditative. As you start the work week on this March Monday, I hope you do too! Be sure to hear the whooshing sounds of the flock departing at the end. Enjoy!

Type 1 Evening Grosbeak @Jay McGowan

There were also lots of Black-capped Chickadess visiting the feeder, along with Blue Jays and both Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches. Listen also for whisper song and calls of a Dark-eyed Junco, the drum of a Downy Woodpecker, the calls of a Hairy Woodpecker, and the high, thin notes of a Cedar Waxwing near the end.

Cover Photo Credit Jay McGowan

FiRN is a nonprofit, and has been granted 501c3 status. FiRN is committed to researching and protecting these birds and other threatened finch species like the Evening Grosbeak and Rosy-finches, and if you have been enjoying all the blogs and identifying of Red Crossbill call types, redpoll subspecies and green morph Pine Siskins FiRN has helped with, please think about supporting our efforts and making a small donation at the donate link below. We plan to support student research projects and more.

For more on Evening Grosbeaks and this year’s amazing Evening Grosbeak irruption, read below links:

Type 3 Evening Grosbeak @Jay McGowan

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