Need Help Identifying a Sound?

You've heard a sound in your area or on a trip and you just must know what that sound is! These mysteries are usually fun to resolve, and I'm here to help. Here's what I'll need in order to help you out:

1. First, give a listen to the following sounds, which are the answers to 80% of the requests we get: 1. The Barn Owl - a nocturnal screeching, blood-curdling scream: Barn Owl Sounds.   2. The Hermit Thrush - an airy, flute-like, hauntingly beautiful song, heard in the forest during the day: Hermit Thrush Sounds.    3. The White-throated Sparrow - a whistled song starting with two (usually) higher notes and followed by a series of lower pure tones, sounding like "Old Sam" sung high, then "peabody-peabody-peabody"- all sung a the same pitch, slightly higher or lower than "Old Sam". White-throated Sparrow sounds. The White-throated Sparrow is courtesy of and copyrighted to my friend, Lang Elliott. (See and hear more of Lang's superlative work at If your "mystery" doesn't match any of these, go on to #2, below.

2. What was the geographic location of the sound? What state, what country, near what city?

3. What was the habitat where the sound was heard - near a river, in a forest, in the desert, what kind of surroundings does this animal like?

4. What time of day do you hear the sound?

5. If you have a recording of the sound, even if it's a poor one, please send me a copy, keeping the file size under 500K.

6. Give me a description of the sound - was it high or low, a trill, a song, chatter, however you want to describe it, and tell me how frequently or how long the sound is made - these are all clues to the source.

7. Now e-mail the answers to me and I'll do my best to help you out, or to refer you to someone better qualified. I may refer your message in its entirety to our "Nature Recordists e-Mail Discussion Group" - a group of more than 500 recording professionals and amateurs who love natural sound. If they don't know, nobody does! The answer may take a few weeks - often I'm in the field for weeks at a time, so be patient!

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All content, including text, sounds and graphics are copyrighted to and Doug Von Gausig, 1997, 98, 99, 2000. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. Educational and non-commercial license is usually granted without charge, but must be in writing from Naturesongs.
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