Hope is the thing with feathers
April 26, 2013 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Listening to birdsong is really good for you. But many of us live in urban environments where birdsong is a scarce resource, so you might consider opening up this YouTube audio clip, or this one, or this one, and just let those little birdies serenade you while you work at your computer, or savor your morning coffee, or do your household errands. It's good for the soul.
posted by flapjax at midnite (53 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 
Three and half hours of bird song! That's pretty awesome. (I'm definitely coming back to this post tomorrow morning.) Seems like the perfect thing to listen to as ambient music while doing something else.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2013


"Listening to birdsong is really good for you."

As is the wind and rain and thunder and other nature sounds to feed the right-side of your noggin.

Check out Naturespace.
posted by noaccident at 12:31 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's true. I am grateful to have so many birds in my life, and keeping food around for them is the perfect level of responsibility for me as a non-pet person. Speaking of grateful, listening to Bird Song is also pretty good for you.
posted by Lorin at 12:38 AM on April 26, 2013


And for those unfortunate people who live in the country and have to put up with bird noise all day long, here's a little Street Traffic, Rush Hour, City Noise Sound Effect. Soothing and good for the soul in it's own way.
posted by three blind mice at 12:49 AM on April 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


Street Traffic, Rush Hour, City Noise Sound Effect

Hah! I remember that scene in a Woody Allen movie (I forget which one, though) where he leaves NY and he's out in the countryside somewhere: he brings along a portable cassette player with a tape of city traffic noise, so he can get to sleep. Hey, whatever works!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:53 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of sad in a way, though.

I live in an urban environment, but I still enjoy the songs of birds, because I can hear them on YouTube.

That's not the way my grandmammy did it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:54 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, the urban environment is full of mating calls and sirens and motor car sounds.

So it kind of works out, environment-acoustic-wise.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:57 AM on April 26, 2013


Listening to birdsong is really good for you.

Oh is that so?

HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO!

Play this every day for the rest of your life. You have to start it about 5 in the goddamn morning -3am in the summer- cranked up loud enough to cut through double brick walls and double glazed windows, because the bird that issues it is about the size of a prize turkey, and is twice as dumb. I'm hoping they taste as good, because I'm buying a fucking air rifle.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 12:59 AM on April 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


So I turned them all on at once. Then added some more. My relaxation and health has been multiplied tenfold.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 1:01 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO! HOO-HOOOO-HOO HOO-HOO!

Not sure if the wood pigeon's call exactly qualifies as bird *song*. That said, I kind of like that sound myself. Course, I live in Tokyo, where we hear crows constantly, so I can put up with anything.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:05 AM on April 26, 2013


Really, as an urban-dweller, I don't trust the kinds of messages these birds deliver.

Quoth the Raven: "Nevermore".

I hate it when birds can pronounce English words. I'm not talking about parrots, because they seem to just parrot back whatever they've heard. I'm talking about ravens.

Ravens don't normally have the vocal ability to make birdsong, instead preferring to communicate through an elaborate system of grunts and whistles. But occasionally a raven will perch upon your door and be able to intonate the word "nevermore".

That's pretty much their entire vocabulary though. It's not very expressive. It's some kind of mating call, I suppose. "Nevermore, Nevermore, Nevermore."

I once had a conversation about these birdsongs with Lenore, but they've been lost.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:11 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


birdsong at midnight!
posted by telstar at 1:31 AM on April 26, 2013


I've been hiking in the woods, looking for the rockin robin. listening to its call. And I've almost got the call down. It's either:
Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee, tweedle-lee-dee-dee
or
Tweet-le Deedle-Deet Tweet-le Deedle-Dee
or
Tweedly deedly dee
Tweedly deedly de
Tweedly deedly dee
Tweedly deedly de
Tweedly deedly dee
Tweedly deedly de
Tweet tweet
Tweet tweet


Regardless, the rockin robin is a beautiful bird who spends most its time hoppin' and a-boppin' and a-singing his song.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:32 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Tokyo we get artificial birdsong piped through the tannoy at some train stations. Unfortunately it's so short the looping immediately reveals it's fake...
posted by armage at 1:47 AM on April 26, 2013


I like birdsong, I really do. But when I was in college, there was only one occasion where it had a special meaning - better known to students at the neighboring art school - that every student in the area came to know the full significance of eventually.

Like Kandarp's birds, they start in the wee hours of the morning, but they only ever called out hoo-hoo, always with two beats. If you're tired because you've been been pulling all-nighters for finals, and you've just finished your last paper and are crawling under the covers for some well-deserved rest as the sun comes up, and suddenly that sound comes from outside your window, the silly little birdsong sounds like something very specific.

Everyone always knew what you were talking about if you mentioned the Fuck-You Birds.
posted by 23 at 1:50 AM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tweedly deedly dee

While I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from commenting on the birdsong links, or actual birdsong in general, I also have absolutely no problem with this thread becoming a compendium of bird-related songs. Having an avid interest, as I do, in song themes, I'd actually be delighted to get lots more! I'll continue with a few then, to keep the ball rolling:

Surfin' Bird
May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Blackbird
Bluebird
On the Wings of A Dove
Black Crow
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:52 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a radio station that used to play bird song all day. They took it off in 2005, but it had a suprising number of listeners. [More]

A search on google pulls up a suprisingly large number of websites that'll do nothing but play you birdsong.

Then there's any number of sites that'll play you the sound of rain. e.g.
posted by zoo at 2:56 AM on April 26, 2013


Is there any science to say it's good for you?
posted by MrMerlot at 3:01 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do wonder if this is a correlation ≠ causation thing.
posted by Lanark at 4:16 AM on April 26, 2013


birdsong at midnight!

...sounds like a page from the Kama Sutra.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:18 AM on April 26, 2013


I remember a fellow student once talking about the pigeons outside the window: "I thought that it was some guy having orgasms -- turns out it was a pigeon." I spent a long time wondering what man sounds like a pigeon when he orgasms.
posted by angrycat at 4:18 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is there any science to say it's good for you?

Guess we'll have to wait to hear what these folks have to say about it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:27 AM on April 26, 2013


C'mon I get enough of this at work.
posted by birdherder at 4:41 AM on April 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Can hear lots of birds and one distant, thank god, rooster this morning.
Grackles have really cool calls, but are evil nasty birds. So far they don't like our neighborhood...too many hawks maybe.
posted by emjaybee at 4:47 AM on April 26, 2013


From the comments: I love this but I have to admit the repetitive 'cuckoo' bird is driving me crazy. I didn't even know there was a real bird that did that.

That's a bit sad. Did she think we just made it up?

Is there any science to say it's good for you?

I'm feeling better. How about the rest of you?
posted by pracowity at 4:47 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bluebird Blues by Big Joe Williams
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:57 AM on April 26, 2013


Is the sound of lawnmowers good for you? BecauBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRr
posted by MOWOG at 5:09 AM on April 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm feeling better. How about the rest of you?

We need science to know for sure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sound of a wood thrush is probably the loveliest song I know. It instantly switches off my ability to do productive work, forcing me to gaze off into the distance with a wistful smile.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:38 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love the American Woodland CDs and would play them at the office. I leant them to a friend and she loves it (and she's not big into birds).
posted by evening at 5:44 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing like hearing the sound of birds after you've been up all night with insomnia to drive you to despair.
posted by Joe Chip at 5:46 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Never a dull moment when you live in a neighborhood filled with mockingbirds...
posted by jim in austin at 5:46 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I live in London, and I miss birdsong (and crickets, and all the nature noises that don't involve vehicles and/or drunkards.)

That said, I was sleeping in a tent in rural Buckinghamshire a couple of weekends ago, and I have never had such a strong desire to yell "WANKERS!!!" at the dawn chorus.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:53 AM on April 26, 2013


I had a fucking mockingbird keep me up all night last Saturday. It was not good for my health.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:57 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


elsie, I fist-bump you in sympathy.

I have my wake-up alarm on my phone set to a birdsong mix, which is a nice way to wake up, except I'm now conditioned to wake up when I hear birds singing. This would be fine, except for when the local mockingbird who doesn't have a mate yet starts up at 2:51 a.m. (ask me how I know!) in the tree right outside the bedroom window. That fucker is loud. And I'm not very good at birding by ear, but I had a hard time getting back to sleep in part because my brain was trying to ID all the songs he was singing: "Hmmm, robin....towhee....starling...car alarm...."

gingerbeer and I have been known to stop in our tracks when we're walking around SF because we heard a redtail scream. I was once driving home from the grocery store with the windows down because it was such a nice day and I had to quickly pull over because I heard the kaaak kaaak kaaak of a peregrine.
posted by rtha at 6:08 AM on April 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


twoleftfeet: "I hate it when birds can pronounce English words. I'm not talking about parrots, because they seem to just parrot back whatever they've heard. "

Obviously you have never had an argument with a Quaker parrot about whether she needs more sunflower seeds before she goes to bed.

And lost.
posted by Splunge at 6:10 AM on April 26, 2013


Imagine birdsongs, all over the house.

Thanks flapjax, and Sonos!
posted by Goofyy at 7:00 AM on April 26, 2013


The other day I filled the birdfeeder outside the kitchen window, and now I have to play scarecrow to keep the stupid grackles from eating every last piece of grain. Gaaaah, I hates them.

Wikipedia suggests the birds of prey are possibly the only solution to a grackle infestation, so now I gotta figure out how to capture and domesticate a hawk. *sigh* Where am I going to get a raptor to doesticate?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:22 AM on April 26, 2013


I've noticed that some folks in this thread have complained about birds that they find irritating: mockingbirds, wood pigeons... I'd like to take this opportunity to point out to those tortured souls that the links I've included in this post seem largely, if not entirely, free of such birds. Here you'll find only the most melifluous of avian critters, possessed of the kind of sweet, melodic voices that will make you forget all about those nasty, noisy old fowl that have caused you such grief in the past!

So... just click on one of the links... there... isn't that better?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


We live in suburban Portland and have around 20 species of bird that visit our feeders, so we hear a lot of birdsong. One of the neighbors nearby got some type of large parrot-type bird that she puts outside when the weather is good, so now along with the robins and wrens and such we hear this freaking loud "GRAWK!!!"

It doesn't blend well.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:29 AM on April 26, 2013


I've also been conditioned to hate birds because of insomnia. Or just because I don't like being reminded that I stayed up all night making art and playing video games and will be spending the rest of the daystar's evil reign unconscious.
posted by NoraReed at 7:45 AM on April 26, 2013


"Birdsong is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of a new series titled Tweet of the Day, which will air before the Today programme for the next year.

From 6 May, early risers will hear a different call or song from British bird species, followed by a story and facts about the tweet in question.

Sir David Attenborough will present every 90-second episode during May."

posted by Marauding Ennui at 7:52 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Birdsong is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of a new series titled Tweet of the Day

I heartily applaud any effort to redirect the word "tweet" to its former meaning.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh I love the mockingbirds during the day. I just don't find them particularly soothing at 1am. Or 2am. Or 3am.


(rtha, I once spent weeks trying to identify the bird making a strange deep lowing noise [nightjar? dove? owl!?] and finally realized it was a distant bullfrog.)
posted by elsietheeel at 8:27 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a neighbor on our block who raises some kind of exotic birds in his backyard. I can't see them from our back deck, but I can hear them. Parrots, maybe? I wish I could ask him, but despite living on this block for a decade now, he never gives me so much as a "I recognize you" nod when we pass on the street.
posted by rtha at 8:51 AM on April 26, 2013


Could it be the Telegraph Hill parrots? Apparently they're travelling farther afield these days and have been spotted as far south as Brisbane (CA, not .au - that would be pretty far south).
posted by elsietheeel at 9:25 AM on April 26, 2013


Nope, definitely not those - a local flock (Dolores Park? Bernal Hill?) goes over every afternoon an hour or so before sunset, but the calls from dude's backyard sound like the calls of a much larger bird of some sort. I should unlazy-fy myself enough someday to poke around on the internet for big-parrot calls to see if they match what I hear from my back porch.
posted by rtha at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2013


Rtha, from having seen you at Philz I believe you live close to the parrot rescue house. I am not saying that is what you are hearing, but I lived 5 blocks away and could hear the birds on quiet days.

And I am reminded of you when I go to the balcony to smoke and see the crows bullying the rthas that live in the big tree. All the hawks want is to eat some tasty pigeons.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 10:18 AM on April 26, 2013


Parrot rescue house?! There's a parrot rescue house??!? (We're on Vermont street, the part that's west of the freeway; is the rescue house on that part? Also, hi, come to a meetup again sometime!)

One of the local redtail pairs has been engaging in magnificent courtship displays with lots of leg-dangling. I love spring.
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on April 26, 2013


The mockingbirds at night drive me to the brink of insanity. In my neighborhood, they seem to be mimicking car alarms more than anything else. Thankfully, after two-three weeks of non-stop singing from midnight past dawn, the mockingbird behind my apartment building has finally found a mate or been murdered or whatever I don't even care because finally, finally it has shut the fuck up.

I am a-okay with the sweet dawn chorus of birdsong, but something about the mockingbirds just drives me to homicidal (birdicidal? avicidal? whatever) despair sometime around 3 or 4 AM when they still haven't shut up and nothing will drown out their noise.
posted by yasaman at 12:00 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I live in London, and I miss birdsong (and crickets, and all the nature noises that don't involve vehicles and/or drunkards.)

In my bit of London, they start chirping after 3:30 am or so now that the weather is warmer. Nice accompaniment when I've stayed up too long.
posted by ersatz at 2:39 PM on April 26, 2013


rtha: I just spent half an hour on google maps trying to find the parrot house. I know it is very close to Folsom and 25th, but I can not recognize the house on street view.

It is just a normal looking house with the windows covered, but I have walked by when the door is open and the house is filled with birdcages and all kinds of parroty looking birds. It is very clean, and i talked to a Mexican lady leaving the house once and she told me it is some king of parrot rescue operation. But giving it more thought, maybe it is just a weird parrot hoarder.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 3:04 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mental health 'helped by birdsong'

The Sound of Music Pt. 2
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:24 AM on April 28, 2013


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