Make Your Own Bird Song Recordings

Mrs Everybody has been bringing wild birdsong into her office. It makes her feel like she is outside when she is working indoors and gives her extra special feelings of happiness and productivity.  While it is good to play these sounds during a tea break they help to get you started on difficult tasks as well.

She has tried three methods – with a mobile phone a digital camera and an HD video recorder.  Read about her experiences and find the best starting point for yourself and of course have a listen to the video which is on You Tube.

Even in the winter in both villages and towns the birds will sing all through the day. Look out for hedges which include mature hawthorn and blackthorn trees which Mrs Everybody considers to be the noisiest of trees, full of little chattering birds. By beginning to record bird song in the winter, when there is less foliage present, it is easier to identify the songster bird and as it were ‘name that song.’

Share your bird song at the bus stop, bring it into an interior work place or take it when visiting relatives at hospital. Mrs Everybody is very excited and hopes that you can make some bird recordings soon – and share them!

Mrs Everybody has never been known as Mrs Technology and so you will find that a large part of her challenge is with technology. Perhaps you are gifted in this way or maybe you have the same trouble. Learning how modern gadgets work is worth while and for Mrs Everybody, as for so many of us, this is an ongoing challenge.

Method 1: Recording Bird Song on a Mobile Phone

Mrs Everybody’s mobile phone was easy to use. ‘’I found the voice recorder on the phone and it was straight forward to operate. ‘’

‘’I put the mobile phone on a stone under the hawthorn tree in the lee of the wind, pressed record and quietly went indoors. I left the phone alone for a while for the birds to settle down and give their all. Time passed and more time. Oh, and the weather changed …”

“I remembered I had left the phone outside about 10 minutes into a hail storm! I launched out into the storm in my search and rescue mode and recovered my phone – luckily it still worked.  Do pay attention to the weather if you leave your phone alone outside!’’

The Greatest Technological Challenge of Using the Mobile for Making Recordings

‘’The recordeing ended up being some 25 minutes long and the file was too large to share from my phone. I can play it on the phone, but I can’t email it to anyone else or add it to a text message. So I suggest trying a short clip first.

Another issue is that different types of mobile phone save sound files in their own way. For example Samsung Galaxy uses 3ga files and even if I could share them, other types of phone and computers would probably not be able to open this file type. Converting files into other file types can be tricky.

Well at least with my mobile phone, I can bring cheer to bus stops, indoors at work and to people at hospital.

Method 2: Using a Digital Camera to Record Bird Song

‘’The digital camera has a video maker and not just a straight recorder so I used the video function. The files were easy to upload just like photos but they ended up as Real Player files and they won’t go into my video editing software. ’’

The Greatest Technological Challenge in Using a Digital Camera to make recordings

‘’Well, I can hear the birds when I’m working, but the sound quality was poor and the internal microphone picked up a lot of annoying wind noise so I probably won’t use this method again.’’

Method 3: Using an HD Video Camera to Record Bird Song

Determined to get some usable convertible and higher quality footage, Mrs Everybody went through the video recorders instruction manual several times … with her glasses on! She screwed her HD recorder with external microphone and a wide angle converter on a tripod, pointed it at the hedge and placed it firmly on the ground. She quietly walked indoors feeling like she has just arrived at the top of Mount Everest.

Technological Challenges in Using and HD Video Recorder to Capture Bird Song.

Let us skip the many takes, namely when the microphone wasn’t switched on; when the video recorder was set at a jaunty angle; when the naughty cat kept coming out causing the birds to give out nothing but alarm calls, and when everyone decided to drive back form work at the same time. Eventually a reasonable recording was obtained.

“With the HD video camera method the sound quality was excellent and using some simple software I was able to convert the files and upload them to You Tube. This still wasn’t easy and I took things step by step writing down the methods which worked to make it easier next time! I have never read so many manuals or looked at some many You Tube tutorials!”

While the video footage could be more exciting – it is little more than a hedge, a clear recording was obtained. Near the end of the video, there is some drama where the camera comes under attack from a robin!

Mrs Everybody is determined this year to hugely improve her technological know how. It is always difficult to get technology to work for us but if you can do little more than record wild bird song and bring this joy to yourself and others then surely it is worth it.

Back to Mrs Everybody – who is quite exhausted!  ‘’This was one of my hardest challenges that I have set myself and I certainly didn’t succeed straight away. I am so intrigued by this ‘singing’ hedge that I am tempted to make more recordings. I would like a perfect 20 minute sound track to play during a detox bath with rhassoul clay!

Now my task is to identify the feathered singers?  Which species are they, where are they in the recording and what is distinctive about their song?”

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