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Nature’s Symphony

Nature speaks. We’ll hear a symphony of natural sound. Growls and gurgles, wind and water, wolf and jaguar, glaciers on the move.

Howling wolf. (numbphoto/Flickr)

Howling wolf. (numbphoto/Flickr)

Way back in his career, natural sound legend Bernie Krause was all about electronic music and human performers:  The Doors, Van Morrison, Mick Jagger.  Then Bernie Krause went over to the wild side.  To nature’s own symphony.

He took his world-class recording chops into jungle and tundra, rain forest and ocean swell.  To the sound of glaciers moving, jaguars growling, beavers crying, wolves, vultures, orcas, snow.  His collection is incredible.  He’s with us, with all that sound.

This hour, On Point:  nature’s symphony.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Bernie Krause, author of The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places.

From Tom’s Reading List

SF Weekly “Former musician Bernie Krause has spent 30 years recording the pristine sounds of nature in the remotest corners of the world. Now, after all his travels, he has an important message for the human race: Shut up!”

New York Times “If you saw Bernie Krause, a sotto voce man with heavy, nearsighted eyes, seated amid the baffling array of high-tech sound-engineering gear in his Glen Ellen, Calif., studio, you might never guess that he was once flung down a Rwandan mountainside by a mountain gorilla. Or that he forced himself to sit coolly still in the stultifying blackness of an Amazon jungle night while a prowling jaguar mouthed a microphone he had set up only 30 feet down the trail.”

Christian Science Monitor “Dr. Krause, who has spent the past 40 years collecting sounds from around the globe, explains that the clicks, chirps, and howling ethereal decrescendos are indeed from this planet: They’re made by Weddell seals inhabiting the frozen continent’s McMurdo Sound.”

Video: The Sounds Of Nature

Check out this video from Bernie Krause, as he records the sounds of purring jaguars, snapping shrimp, and cracking glaciers.

Video: Sounds of a Tree

Here Krause explains how he recorded audio signals emitting from the trunk of a cottonwood tree while trying to record bat emissions.

Excerpt: The Great Animal Orchestra

[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

Playlist

Desert Solitudes

In the spring of 1992 Bernie went to Gray Ranch in the panhandle of New Mexico. The wildlife includes cactus and rock wrens, western meadowlarks, sparrows, green-tailed towhees, blue grosbeaks, ash-throated flycatchers, coyotes, gray foxes, red-tailed hawks, toads, frogs, tortoises and snakes.

Big Sur Pacific

A recording from Big Sur, along the California coast, a few hours South of San Francisco. Bernie recorded this at Pfeiffer Beach, on Christmas morning in 1990.

Chernobyl Dawn

The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in 1986 left a deep silence on the site. But within a few years wildlife returned. Here, the sound from spring 2006. Wolves, moose, white-tailed eagles, and black storks have moved back to the site. The area is also famous for its frogs and nightingales.

Early Soundscape

Here at early dawn at a site located in the Adirondacks, the soundscape of peepers, insects, various birds, and a woodpecker.

Insect Larvae (LOOPED)

Here, a 1986 recording at Mono Lake in California, on a spring day in a vernal pool that had just melted. You can hear the sound of insect larvae and water boatmen.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

In late spring, 2006, Bernie led three teams to record the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in the Northeastern corner of Alaska. At Timber Lake, he caught the sound of Tree sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, savannah sparrows, American robins, Hoary redpols, lesser yellowlegs and upland sandpipers.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Phil Ronco

    As Psalm 19:1 clearly states, “The heavens declare the glory of God”.  The loudest and most beautiful sound of all is knowing that the complexity and balance seen in all that has been created clearly demonstrates the existence of the eternal, infinite God of the Bible for anyone who is willing to listen.  In addition to marveling at how wonderful nature and the universe can be, Christians have the far more priceless benefit of personally knowing God who created everything including empty space itself which matter occupies, all matter, setting time in motion, and knowing what the purpose of life is (namely, to be reconciled back to God and to enjoy a personal relationship with Him by embracing the only payment for sin that He provided, namely the death and resurrection of Jesus).  Those without this relationship, which is available to anyone who will embrace the Biblical message, can only see a slight glimmer by looking merely at the creation without personally knowing the Creator who transcends time and His creation.  And then death comes.

    • JustSayin

      How the world actually works: (Feynman: Take the world from another point of view) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsgBtOVzHKI

      • Patrik

        Interesting link and perspective.  One should question everything and engage lifes difficult challenges/questions instead of relegating it to a man-made Archetype figure as some sort of conscience bin for our problems that we as humans would rather soon forget than solve. *Donning anti-flame suit* 

  • Lars in MA

    We just had the spring peepers (frogs) start up last week. It’s a time we look forward to every year. 

    When the peepers start, we’ll keep our windows cracked just a little, even while temperatures still get pretty low at night, just to be lulled to sleep by their calls. The peepers eventually take back stage to bullfrogs and katydids and crickets as the annual warm weather, months long symphony plays on…There’s a sample here:(http://www.wodfriends.org/pseudacris_crucifer_chorus.mp3)

  • Stillin

    nature heals. the senses get aroma, touch, sun/breeze of warm air on the face, sound, sight and if you are blessed, no conversation, NO CELL PHONES.

  • Modavations

    Anthropomorhism is projecting the human condition onto the little critters.Those songs may well be Birdy Porn,Calls to war,etc.,etc

  • Patrik

    I enjoy the sounds of our natural, biological world — whichever part that has been left biological. 

    Some surprise me, like the Blue-Jay.  This bright blue, beautiful looking bird that lands on a branch near my window which shatters the moment with an absolutely horrid croak/screechy song, lol.

  • Rnldjnsn

    Sorry folks…this is the origin of music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjHrmmFIErY

  • Peter

    I heard the spring peepers two nights ago. Love that.

  • Alexandra

    We recently moved just a few towns north of Boston. I am absolutely enchanted by the sounds of birds, bats, crickets and frogs I now hear so clearly every day. it brings a specific kind of calm I can find no other way.

  • RolloMartins

    Adirondack, NY loons and peepers, and woodpeckers pecking at the trees. Nothing better.

  • Anonymous

    Tree frogs in August in Wellesley, MA, especially mixed with crickets and cicadas. 

  • Ward Cheney

    This is so great, a wonderful way to spend your time, Bernie Krause. And a real gift to others. Thank you. Also, a reminder of what’s out there. The splendor, and even utility, of paying attention to sounds beyond our modern constructions. Thank you, On Point, thank you, Tom and staff.

    • Patrik

      I agree and second that thanks.

  • Ward Cheney

    One other thing: You are now talking about equipment when you started and how anyone can do it these days . . . please recommend a most basic, affordable starter’s kit.

  • Lars in MA

    I was looking for ambiant music to listen to while I work at one point and found “Resonance” which is a free app that plays a lot of binaural sound. I find it incredibly relaxing, especially if I’m trying to settle down.
    I’d love to know if Bernie’s recordings are done this way. Listening on good stereo headphones really transports you…you close your eyes and it’s like you’re there.

    The recordings for this software, if I understand correctly, are taken from microphones positioned as your ears are, so the sound gives similar spatial cues.

    http://www.resonance-asm.com/

  • Davesweetman

    Yesterday I heard, “first Grackle, ” the sure sign of spring in central Massachusetts.  Bird song is year round here and in spring we can distinguish the male territory and mating calls of cardinals, nuthatches, woodpecker (hammering & guttural squawk)  N.B Blind birders often are more success on an outing especially when foliage is full.

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of the lovely segments that CBS Sunday Morning used to do at the end of each show.  Just beautiful. 

    • nj_v2

      They still end the show with a “moment of nature.”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    One day while hiking up a ridge on a foggy day near Chattanooga, I heard Canada geese honking as they flew overhead.  I couldn’t see them, but the sounds of their voices and their wingbeats came clearly down to me.

  • Tina

    1) The sounds of a wide breadth of surf (so that it’s shallow for quite a distance) coming up upon the sand.  The rank-y smell of the salt sea air is part of it, too.  My favorite!!!

    2)  Inland (so in second place for me):  the beautiful song of the Wood Thrush!  I think they sing two notes simultaneously!
    The song is gorgeous in and of itself, but it also takes me back to Early Bedtime when I was four years old:  hearing the birds accompany me to sleep as they sang from the Tulip Tree outside my bedroom window!

    • LizNOLA

      Wood Trush. Definitely. A creation story says that they cheated when the Creator was giving out songs and when they returned to face their fellow birds, they were ashamed… and that is why you have to be very still and be deep in the woods to hear a Wood Thrush at full throat.

  • Kathy in Nashville

    I was at the Nashville Zoo one day soon after it opened.  They have a wolf exhibit there.  Sirens started on a road near the zoo and the wolves started howling in response.  It was the most beautiful sound!  I have a Cherokee background and I know how my ancestors felt hearing this majestic sound!

  • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

    Most amazing sound was listening to birds while we walked trough a WW1 trench in the Foret d’Apremont. Having read about soldiers hearing this also added to the impact

  • Steven

    No cultural bias.  Yesterday I was listening to a radio story about the Fukashima disaster that included interviews of people affected by the meltdowns and heard the call of a gull in the background. Never heard a Japanese gull before. It sounded like our Maine gulls. There is nothing the story producer could have done to bring home more strongly how we are one people living in one world.    

  • Susan in North Attleboro

    As an avid SCUBA diver, the sounds of the ocean are so alien and soothing. One of the most amazing things to see was a couple of dolphins playing catch with a piece of fan coral. The clicks and squeaks they made were simply amazing. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

  • Susanna in South Deerfield MA

    I have a clear childhood memory of listening to loons call to eachother sitting next to a pond at the base of Mt Katadin, ME.  Magical:)

    • Steven

      We used to go up to Kidney Pond or Dacy Pond for a couple nights. What a place for sounds: bats in the eaves, loons on the ponds, wild thunder storms and one night a moose munching right outside our cabin most of the night! We are so lucky to still have such places and wise radio people like Tom and his crew who bring us more sounds. 

  • Jemiman

    One day, sitting on a promontory in Cheaha State Park in Alabama, a cloud passed by–and through–us.  The silence in the middle of that fog was stunning.

  • Shawn in Ithaca

    As an undergraduate at the University of Maine (Orono, ME), I had the opportunity to do research in spruce-fir forests during several summers.  When not whipping a diameter tape or gathering GPS coordinates, I was amazed by the symphony of warblers and thrushes.  I often found that no matter how hard the work was – battling black flies, high temperatures and humidity, etc – I was always put at ease by the calls of a Hermit thrush, Blackburnian warbler, or a Black-throated green warbler.  Absolutely amazing memories; thank you Bernie for taking me back to those times.

  • Tina

    Ahh!  If I made a movie, I’ve long thought that I’d like to have a soundtrack with these two sounds toned simultaneously: 

    In one room, your grandfather is listening to a Yankees/Dodgers game.  This is during the early 1950′s, so sometimes your grandfather lets out a groan or a whoooewoo.

    In the other room, your mom is listening to The Metropolitan Opera on the radio, maybe a Puccini piece, maybe Madama Butterfly.  (I’m not sure if the Met was broadcasting operas in the same early 50′s I mentioned above, but in this “simulcast” they need to be!)

    The viewer is the kid happily playing while some of the other people in his/her life go about their activities.  

    • David

      The Met broadcasts began in 1931.

  • Mbenoff

    The soft, gentle “puffs” of  slow-motion galloping giraffe’s in Tanzania – so unexpected and marvelous.

  • nj_v2

    Somewhere, i’ve got a couple of LPs from (i think) the 70s… “Envrionments,” i think the series was called. One album was Dawn at New Hope Pennsylvania. Another was recorded at a seashore somewhere. Great stuff to have playing while doing whatever.

    On line bird song streaming here (http://www.radiobirdsong.com/), though there’s an occasional  bit of what sounds like human-produced sound here and there.

    Thanks to On Point and Mr Krause for the program!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Then there was the time that I went camping at Land Between the Lakes on the Tennessee/Kentucky border.  Late that night, packs of coyotes howled all around me.  It was beautiful and chilling.

    • nj_v2

      There’s a small pack of coyotes that roams the woods behind our house. Haven’t heard them recently, but every so often they make a series of vocalizations that last, maybe, 10 minutes or so. Always in the middle of the night, 1:00–2:00 a.m.-ish.

      Can’t really call it howling; more like a cross between a hyena and a small group of little girls screaming. Tall about chilling.

  • LizNOLA

    I have one word for you: “Oropendola”

    Actually, two: “Montezuma Oropendola”

    These guys have the greatest song, like drunken gurgling water. And they are the clowns out of miniture car the way they pile out of their hanging woven nests. They make me laugh everytime I see/hear them.

  • Jpolypi

    My dogs ears perked up and she sat up and looked at the speakers when you played the recording of the wolves. 

  • Joan

    With sound, there is also silence in nature. Years ago, my husband and I hiked Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Atop the mesa, we were looking into the eyes of the soaring ravens. We experienced profound silence. No animals, no wind, no planes, not even the ravens… just pure silence. We stood there for what felt like forever. I’ve never experienced it since.
    Joan
    Bedford, MA

  • http://www.sherrylawsonplanet.com/ Sherry Lawson

    I’m a singer/songwriter and a Reiki Master. When I was recording my first CD I found a recording of crickets that a man in New Mexico had made. He had slowed the recording down because he said he thought he could hear notes in the chirping. I wanted the recording to put behind ‘the Law of One’ that I read on the last cut of the CD. He sent me the DAT so I could mix it how I wanted and it truly sounds like an otherworldly chorus. He probably has a website by now but this was 13 years ago and I would have to look up his name. You can hear what I did with them on my website http://www.sherrylawsonplanet.com
    The chorus is between the songs ‘Your mouth is a prayer’ and ‘the Law of One’.

  • Tina

    A question:  What do the Ides of March sound like?

  • Ward Cheney

    You asked for listeners to call or post about sounds we find special. There are so many. One, on the high plains of Colorado, where I grew up, wind in huge, open spaces blowing through grass and sage brush. Two, the rustling of leaves of cottonwood and aspen. Three, here on the farm where I work, the sound of the Canada Geese as they pass close overhead, feather against feather, muscles and joints moving.

    • Ward Cheney

      You just played the wind!

    • Ward Cheney

      I’m feeling apologetic for posting so much today. This show just so hits home.

      Another “sound” . . . perhaps I should say the sound of no-sound: My father long ago took horses into the mountains on pack trips. On one trip with him, nine-thousand feet up, sleeping in a canvas tent, I woke in the middle of the night, feeling that something had stirred me from deep sleep. It took a little while to realize that it was “no-sound” that woke me up. The weather had changed in the middle of the night, covering the tent with thick, muffling layer of snow, blocking out all the ambient sound I had gone to sleep with.

  • Tina

    How could I forget?!!!  

    Red-wing blackbirds!!!  Again, accompanied by the rank fragrance of their marshes!

    Thank you!

    And, peepers.  Of course, peepers!!!!!!!!!

  • Jamesconnelly1

    The image of John Travolta as the soundman Jack Terry in De Palma’s 1981 movie Blow-out comes to mind.  Did your guest ever come across something completely unexpected and even mysterious, though perhaps not so melodramatic as the movie soundman?

  • Suexcski

    Can you play toucans or howler monkeys? They were incredibly beautiful in Costa Rica

  • Andrew Joslin

    Here is video with Fish Crow and American Crow gathering to roost for the night in West Roxbury, starting at 4:28 the sounds get even more interesting as they pack tightly into a white pine https://vimeo.com/34182424

  • Beandk

    The sounds of HUMAN activity can be wonderfully euphonic, too, and are all too often disguised by mechanical sound. For example, the sounds of a restaurant are wonderful; the murmur of conversation, the ring of flatware, the clink of dishes, sounds from the kitchen and so on. It is a wonderful and relaxing sound, yet restaurateurs love to try to overwhelm it with piped-in music.

  • Nancy from Durham, Ct

    Thank you thank you for this show ! If you could record it right now-you would hear a grateful heart !

  • Marj Stark

    I lived in California for 11 years and used to go camping with a friend in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento along the Sonora Pass. One night we heard the strangest vibrating noises in the air above our heads. We finally realized it was the sound of a Night Hawk putting the brakes on as it swooped down to catch insects.

  • Jeannie Boyce

    My dog is listening with wonder to the sounds of nature.  At firstshe was seeking the source and then settled into listening…head cocking.  We recently were surrounded by three groups of coyotes.  They were at a distance but their collective calls were eerie and we ran before my dog was scenced.
    March 11 = 1st peepers.  I love all sounds of nature.  Very tall trees creaking and slamming in the wind, rain on tin roofs, water moving, animal calls the list is infinite. Thank you Bernie Krause!
    Tom, you are lucky this hour!

  • Modavations

    I love the songs of beavers….Darling sing me a song please

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       You don’t have to be grotesque.

      • nj_v2

        His attention whoring knows no bounds. Sad.

        I’m flagging half his posts now.

        • Modavations

          I remember that kid from a few months ago…..Flag You mini cop,I believe he said.I have never flagged anyone,ever

      • Modavations

        Anthropomorphism is attributing human qualities to the flora and fauna.Those bird songs may be Birdy Porn,or calls to war

      • Modavations

        sORRY,SORRY…I forgot you guys haven’t laughed in 30 years.Did the Pres.return Mr.Maher 1 million yet?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     I was taught the meaning of susurration as a child while walking along a subdivision street that created a wind tunnel.  In the fall, the wind shook the tops of the trees, creating that murmuring in the leaves and branches.

    • nj_v2

      Susurration. Nice! Thanks for the new word.

      • Modavations

        spanish for whisper

        • Modavations

          As you always point out,I really don’t speak languages.I confess that was my Guppy helping out

  • Pcalley

    My favorite part of hunting is not taking a shot, but having the chance to sit still for hours on end and pay attention to all the little things that normally go unnoticed.  

  • Thomas

    After a recent Ice storm, the sound of the crackling of that ice on even the tiniest branches matched the beauty of those ice covered trees.

  • Andy

    I have recording of ice being made. When you are on a lake and its very cold you can hear the ice cracking making a singing sound.

  • Valerie

    I always enjoy the sound of the “spring peepers” in the evening hours. Their chorus of peeps assures me that warmer weather is here.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    There’s a dead tree in my back yard that gets daily attention from two different species of woodpeckers.  It’s a lovely drumming sound, and particularly attractive when the pileated woodpecker is doing it–the flashing red of his head throbbing at the tree.

    On the subject of drumming, though, when I was in college, I heard a staccato beat near the music building.  I figured that someone was playing a complex piece on a snare drum, but when I rounded the corner, I saw that it was water dripping from the gutter onto the metal cover of an air conditioner.

    • nj_v2

      Why don’t woodpeckers get headaches?

      • Modavations

        There Democrats

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Shock absorbers.

  • Brian

    I know it’s late but I have to mention a very common sound that gets me every time; the two note song of the chickedee. The notes are in a sort of minor key and I always stop and listen.

  • Anonymous

    That beaver recording was heartbreaking. Did anyone follow up on what happened to the wounded beaver?

  • Steven

    This is a question about a sound I and my friends have heard while swimming in Sargent Mountain Pond in Acadia National Park. About an inch above the water one’s ears hear a cicada like sound. If one lowers one’s head into the water the sound is still audible. What is this sound? I almost don’t want the mystery  revealed.

  • Lbdanzig

    I have felt the difference between want and need.  I need to hear these sounds!!! We all do and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your devotion Bernie Krause.

  • nj_v2

    I swear, sometimes late at night, i can hear a very faint, indistinct humming sound while i’m trying to go to sleep. Sounds a bit like a motor of some sort at a very great distance. The sound doesn’t seem to emanate from any one point or direction.

    This is a second-floor bedroom in a small cape on a quiet street in a small town. Midnight or so, no traffic, no industrial buildings nearby. I go outside, no hum. Back in the bedroom, hum. Not the refrigerator vibrating up from below. No other electro-mechanical device in the house is running.

    ??

    • Modavations

      windmills

  • Kim

    If Mr. Krause is looking for a safe home for his achive, the Macauley Library of Sound, located at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, would be the place.  The Macauley Library is the world’s largest and oldest scientific archive of viodiversity audio and video. 

    • Sally at Greenspirit Arts

      I was going to write this same suggestion….glad to someone else placed it here. Cornell would be an excellent and “natural” (pardon the pun) choice.

      LOVED this program BTW, excellent!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Jack-Dennis/574983832 John Jack Dennis

    Tried to get on when (I discovered Bernie on with Tom. We went to Union Institute together and I was hoping he’d tell the story of New York when he recorded all night in the harbor and came up with a gun in his face — went to breakfast with the man.

    Love to chat with him.

    Nice show.

    Jack

  • Kim

    Ooops, sorry about the typo!  spell check anybody?  That would be “biodiversity”, not viodiversity.  How embarassing!

  • otto

    Missed most of your show today.  But maybe you can help me find recorded the sounds of Canadian geese in flight, landing, or taking flight in the wild.  Wet.duck748@ymail.com

  • John Borneman

    While workingfor an environmental organization a woman called me and said that when she walked her dog she heard a bird sing that brought tears to her eyes. I asked her if she was walking in a coniferous forest. When she said  “Yes”, I told her it was a Hermit Thrush. She recorded the song and sent me a wonderful recording of this wonderful singer.

  • John P.

    The purring of a cat has long been unknown. Researchers now believe it may provide health benefits to the cats (and I like to think… to cat lovers everywhere).

    “Could the purr in any way link to the
    fact that vibrational stimulation not only relieves suffering in 82% of
    persons suffering from acute and chronic pain but also generates new
    tissue growth, augments wound tissue strength, improves local
    circulation and oxygenation, reduces swelling and/or inhibits bacterial
    growth?”
    http://www.bksv.com/NewsEvents/Waves/OtherArticles/TheCatsPurrMystery.aspx

    Here’s another interesting example of sound and the healing process.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/28/turkish-doctors-traditional-music-therapy

  • Sgould

    Bernie said that he was looking for a home for his wonderful recordings. It reminded me of the bird call library at Cornell University. They have the largest collection of bird sounds. It seems a natural fit that Bernie’s recordings would find a good home there.

  • Bob

    This is Bob from San Antonio. My favorite sound is the sandhill cranes flying high overhead, moving north in spring and south in fall. I just heard it yesterday. I used to live on a ranch in Nebraska and looked forward to this sound every year.

  • Bob K

    A mile away from my house in Scotts Valley California I was recently in the Henry Cowell Redwoods, at a place called Cathedral Grove. I sat there in silence on a bench reading a book, when suddenly a very loud WHOOSH WHOOSH WHOOSH made me sit up and look around. Then I looked up and saw a flock of (probably seabirds) flying over the ring of redwoods. Apparently the sound was carried down undiminished to where I sat. It was as if I was up there flying with them. It reminded me how Nature can surprise us when we least expect it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6FXBDAF55MIOGI2JCC3DGV2Y4Y Andrew Kosmowski

    I grew up in Upstate NY and have not gotten homesick until I heard “Early Soundscape.”  Thanks for the memories of my youth.

  • Phil

    Last year in NYC there was a lecture about Tony Schwartz,
    http://www.npr.org/programs/lnfsound/stories/990226.stories.html , given by Matthew Barton, curator of recorded sound at the Library of Congress.  He spent years categorizing Mr Schwartz’ life work which was mostly recording sounds of the city that he knew would not exist for very long after they were recorded.  I think your recordings belong at the library as well.  Thank you for the great work you have accomplished, it is  beautiful.  I may know someone with Mr Barton’ email address if you need it.     Phil

  • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

    One winter’s day a few years ago I was walking around Jamaica Pond. The pond had only begun to freeze over, there being only a skim coat of ice, beginning perhaps 50′ away from the shore. It was a windy day, and the wind was hitting the thin edge of the ice in such a way as to create music, a subtle, mysterious sound – a hum – that encompassed a wide range of harmonics. Never heard anything like it before, or since. I wonder if this phenomenon has a name?

  • Robert Tocco

    One of the best “On Points” I’ve heard.  I am reminded a night with my girlfriend while canoeing the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park where it was not sound that impressed us but a silence so total that I felt as if we were in a vacuum and we tried not even to move or breath too hard for fear of breaking the total quiet.  Every now and then a loon could be heard on a distant lake miles away and once a large dragonfly flew by my head and the sound of it’s wings in contrast with the absolute stillness was was one of the more sublime things I’ve ever experienced in nature.  It was primevil and beautiful beyond words.

  • Spiritwoods

    Only when we take that time that is required will we ever hear this natural music. I am most pleased that someone has taken the time to capture this for others…

  • Gideon

    Thank you! I love the show! Your work is so important!

  • Leah

    Absolutely moving- thanks so much for bringing this program to the air. Looking forward to reading the book and hopefully getting a sampling of those amazing sound events…

  • Anonymous

    You might find the work of Gordon Hempton of interest, too:
    http://www.utne.com/mind-body/Search-for-Silence-Quiet-Art.aspx

  • JaneG

    Bernie might be able bring his collection to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My understanding is that they are one of the best bioacoustic libraries around.

  • Pingback: Interesting finds for Friday 3/16 « amordragon

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1625485610 Pam Parcella Holden

    JaneG posted exactly what I thought when I heard Bernie was looking for a place for his sound collection.  Wonderful show.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • melanierichard

    This is one of your best shows. Thank you so much!
    The sound of the mourning beaver made me so sad, and I feel I’ll have to share this story for my Public Speaking class for our persuasion speech, for us to “shut up” as human beings.
    My concern is the dangers of going into the wild, i.e. snakes, Gators (I live in Gainesville, FL. where there are many gators out on the trail at La Chua trail and Bolen’s Bluff on Paynes Prairie. What do we do as nature lovers to be safe and live through our encounters and need to hear these sounds? A gator growl is the scariest sound I’ve ever heard, and I moved along quickly. After a rain there are many snakes.
    I’ll be buying the book soon.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 22, 2014
Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka "Elephant Bill," is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke's new book, "Elephant Company." (Courtesy Random House)

We’ll travel to the jungles of Burma for the remarkable true story of Billy Williams—aka “the elephant whisperer”—and his World War II heroism.

 
Jul 22, 2014
Smoke rises after an Israeli shelling at the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, while Israel's defense minister pledged to keep fighting "as long as necessary," raising new doubt about the highest-level mediation mission in two weeks. (AP)

The escalated Gaza offensive. We’ll get the views from both sides and the latest developments.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

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Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

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Future Radio Interns Of America: On Point Wants YOU!
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

On Point needs interns for the fall. Could YOU be one of them?

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