There is good news this week from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Cornell operates the incomparable Birds of North America website but one has to pay for it. We do but not everyone would use it enough to justify the cost. (Although, if you still need a Christmas present for someone it is a fine gift AND you can sign up online and not worry about whether it will arrive in time for Christmas. A one-year subscription is $40.00.)
But the good news is that the Cornell Macauley Library of sounds and videos of birds and other animals is now online and free. It is on the blog roll but here is the full cite again: http://www.animalbehaviorarchive.org
The search function seems to work well although we had trouble viewing the sonograms because the Raven Viewer would not load on our computer. No matter. We don’t understand the sonograms anyway. We just listen to the bird song or bird call and try to remember it.
One word of warning. Each search for a bird species will result in many recordings, sometimes hundreds. On the right hand side of the search results page you’ll see little icons. If it is a video, you’ll see a video camera icon. However, you may have to scroll through more than one page to find a video. It is easier — although still awkward — to go to the “advanced search,” type in the species name and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the video button. That way you will get only videos. (Which also have sound)
Not sure if that was a Great Horned Owl you heard last night? Here is an easy way to find out. But the site is not limited to birds. You can listen to about anything you want. Never heard an elk bugle? Here is your chance. Want to get a reaction out of your dog? Play a gray wolf howl. Not sure what a pack of coyotes really sounds like? Here is your chance to learn.