Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Library Of Animal Sounds
The murmurs, whispers, shrieks and growls of 9,000 species are now digitized in a huge library of animal sounds, including some songs that will never be sung again.
Housed at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Macaulay Library's  audio archive contains roughly 150,000 high-resolution recordings, all available online. It’s the largest collection of wildlife sounds in the world, and routinely called upon by students, scholars, scientists, and filmmakers.
“Sound has a remarkable ability to transport someone,” said audio curator Greg Burney. “You play a sound, and it’s as though the person or the animal is alive, right there in the room with you.”
Digitizing the collection took 12 years. Now, the 10 terabytes of tracks have a total playback time of more than 7,500 hours. Supplementing that auditory cacophony are thousands of video clips, and a photo archive is on the way.
The collection's inaugural recordings date back to 1929, when a song sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, and house wren were recorded singing near the shores of Cayuga Lake. The youngest bird in the collection is an ostrich – recorded while still in the its egg. 
Also tucked into the collection are recordings of the now-extinct Kauai Oo and the (most-likely) extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.  Preserving these natural sounds for future generations is certainly one of the collection’s functions.


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