Thrush Flutesongs

12 tracks, 72 mins. (Compact Disc Version available here)

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THRUSH FLUTESONGS is a collection of twelve beautiful soundscapes featuring seven different species of North American Thrushes: Wood Thrush, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Bicknell’s Thrush, and Varied Thrush. All are talented musicians whose songs are variously described as magical, flutelike, eerie, and ethereal. This is one of our most treasured titles.

TRACK EXCERPTSplay at low volume for the most natural effect:

Detailed Track Descriptions

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1. Thrush Countersong (6:30) – If you love the flute-like songs of Wood Thrushes, then you’ll love this recording of two males singing back-and-forth, sometimes so perfectly timed that from a distance you might think it is one male singing. Note that each male has several different songtypes, which results in considerable melodic diversity as they alternate songs. Toward the end, a Veery can be heard singing softly in the background. 5am, 16 June 1995, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott.

2. Kenai Soloist (6:34) – The song of the Swainson’s Thrush, formerly called the Olive-backed Thrush (our favorite name), is beautiful to behold. It is an upward spiral that climbs into the heavens. This recording is a wonderful portrait of a lone male set against a variety of background bird songs, including those of American Robin, Common Loon, Dark-eyed Junco, and Wilson’s Warbler. 4:30am, 28 May 2002, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Sterling, Alaska. © Lang Elliott.

3. Ethereal Musicians (5:42) – “Ethereal” is the perfect word for describing the Hermit Thrush’s wondrous song. Beginning with a pure tone, the song rambles upward and then levels off in a flutey jumble … a performance that has moved many a poet to ectstatic prose. In this recording from a northern bog, one hermit sings from close by and a number of others sound off in the distance, as if echoing the main singer. Listen also for the clear whistles of White-throated Sparrows and the sweet trills of a Dark-eyed Junco. 6am, 25 July 1994, near Paul Smiths, New York. © Ted Mack.

4. Flautist Extraordinaire (6:13) – Every now and then we encounter a singer possessing special abilities and this Veery is a great example. After giving a number of veeyer calls, he launches into a rather unbelievable series of sparkling songs, some being echoey spirals that are typical of the species and others bordering on the extraordinary. In the last half of the recording, listen in the background for the rambles of a Wood Thrush and the trills of a Chipping Sparrow. 4:40am, 12 June 2008. Michigan Hollow near Danby, New York. © Lang Elliott.

5. Denali Willowbird (5:27) – The song of the Gray-cheeked Thrush starts with soft throaty notes and ends with a wheezy outburst that spirals downward, rather like the song of a Veery. This recording was made in a dense patch of willows next to a small stream in central Alaska. Luckily, there were no grizzly bears around to interrupt his stellar performance. 6am, 14 June 2002. Denali Highway near Paxson Lake, Alaska. © Lang Elliott.

6. Breezy Singer (4:30) – The Bicknell’s Thrush is not often heard over much of its range because it prefers high altitude dwarf forest in mountains of the Northeast. It’s song is a breezy ramble that drops in pitch and then rises slightly at the end. This recording is from a steep forested slope near the top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondack region of upstate New York. Listen also for the high-pitched songs of Blackpoll warbler in the background, as well as Winter Wren. 6am, 13 June 2000. Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, New York. © Lang Elliott and Ted Mack.

7. Spring Pond Duet (6:33) – Captured at a Nature Conservancy refuge deep in the Adirondack Mountains, this recording features both Swainson’s Thrush and Hermit Thrush, often alternating songs with one another. In the background, listen for White-throated Sparrow, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Magnolia Warbler. What a wonderful bogland concert! 5:30am, 6 July, 2000. Spring Pond Bog near Tupper Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott.

8. Silver Bell (6:20) – Longfellow wrote of the Wood Thrush: “And where the shadows deepest fell, the wood thrush rang its silver bell.” We hope this recording comes close to evoking Longfellow’s poetic sentiment. Listen as a lone Wood Thrush sings from forest deep in a hollow, next to a small stream. An American Robin can be heard calling and then singing in the background, and a Common Yellowthroat periodically chimes-in. 8:45pm, 17 June 2000. Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott

9. Singing Brook (6:43) – Thrushes often sing at dusk, acting as musical portals into darkness. In this pristine Adirondack recording made in deep forest next to a small stream, a nearby Swainson’s Thrush gives a splendid performance and another can be heard singing in the background. We doubt if we’ll ever capture a more poignant recording of this amazing species. Listen also for the periodic thumping drums of a Ruffed Grouse and the distant calls of a Common Loon near the end. 5pm, 9 June 2000. Near Fish Creek Pond Campground, Saranac Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott.

10. Eerie Whistler (4:42) – Of all our native thrushes, the Varied Thrush has the most unique song. While other species sing flute-like rambles of musical notes, the Varied gives eerie, wavering whistles. Each male has several different song-types that are usually given in succession, with five or more seconds of silence between songs. The effect can be quite magical, as in this Alaskan recording which also features the resonant croaks of Common Ravens. 4:30am, 26 May 2002. Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Sterling, Alaska. © Ted Mack and Bob McGuire.

11. Shindagin Concerto (6:18) – In this recording made next to a gurgling brook in upstate New York, a Veery predominates while two Wood Thrushes can be heard singing in the background. This one of our favorites. Moreover, it allows the songs of the two species to be easily compared. 9am, 17 June 2000. Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott.

12. Rainsong (6:30) – We will close with a supremely relaxing and meditative recording of a Veery calling and singing as rain falls lightly in a forested swampy area in the mountains of West Virginia. Listen to how the Veery’s songs pleasingly intermix with the splats of the raindrops as they fall upon the broad leaves of Skunk Cabbage, which abounds in the understory. 6am, 21 May 2000, Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, near Hillsboro, West Virginia. © Lang Elliott.

Notes by Lang Elliott

lang_500-300x300We have been diligently collecting thrush recordings for over twenty years. The thrush family includes many of our favorite North American singers (my personal favorite is the Swainson’s Thrush, formerly called Olive-backed Thrush). At once musical and haunting, thrush songs add depth to any soundscape. These field recordings are among our very best. We’ve carefully chosen examples where individuals can be heard cleanly and clearly, but where they are part of their environment and not overly-obtrusive. If you set your volume to a moderate level, we think you will be impressed by the rich musicality and ethereal quality of the remarkable songs of these treasured species.

Product Publication Information

Title: Thrush Flutesongs
Type: Pure Nature Soundscapes (stereo/binaural)
Length: 12 tracks, 72 minutes
Format: MP3 (256kbps) and FLAC digital downloads, On-demand Compact Disc
Download File Name: thrush_flutesongs.zip (140 megabytes); thrush_flutesongs_flac.zip (371 megabytes)
Date Published: April 2013
Recordists: Lang Elliott, Ted Mack, and Bob McGuire
Copyright: “Thrush Flutesongs” © 2013 Lang Elliott, Music of Nature, All Rights Reserved (note: each track is individually copyrighted by the person who recorded the track).
Cover Photo: veery closeup © Lang Elliott

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