This web site is designed to help people learn more about the sounds of nature that they hear around them. Its focus is primarily on birds since they are usually the most frequently heard sounds, and to that end it will contain detailed descriptions of different species. Most of the recordings were made in Switzerland (where I live) and so the text often refers to the status or habits of that species in Switzerland, however the sounds are of relevance to a much wider area wherever the species in question occurs.
A large proportion of the sounds were recorded in the Western part of the Jura mountains straddling the Swiss / France border. This is an important habitat which is now ecologically isolated from the larger alps by urban and agricultural expansion. In the coming years the area will feel the effects of global climate change in ways which we currently do not understand. I hope this site will contribute in some small way in documenting how things stood at the end of the first decade of the new millennium.
The Species Section is arranged systematically using the order of bird families found in most field guides (taxonomic order). By browsing the menu to the left, or clicking the links, different families and species of birds can be found and the individual species descriptions can be read and listened to simultaneously. The search functions allow you to enter any part of the bird name - English or French common names, or the scientific name and find all the references to the word you entered.
For each species a range of the most commonly heard sounds are available as a streaming stereo mp3 files (128 Kbps to optimise quality and download time) - but they are best listened to through headphones. There are also active sonograms so that the detailed pattern of the sounds can be both seen and heard, this helps to understand better the subtleties of the sounds and the visible patterns will assist learning. The sound quality of the sonograms is not quite as good as the mp3 player.
Arlette Berlie, an amateur photographer from a nearby town, has kindly agreed to colloaborate with this project and thanks to her you can also find some superb photographs of most species which will also help identification.
The site is a "work in progress" - it is still growing and new species are added as I edit and write about the sounds in my archive, as I get new sounds and as Arlette gets new photographs. The Latest Updates section shows a list of the recent changes on the site. In future I hope there will also be sections that discuss the ethology of communication by sound and how it is used by birds, and sections will describe different Swiss habitats and the birds which can be heard there.
Finally, an Audio Blog provides an account of interesting recent experiences in nature recording.
As of August 2010 I have nearly 70 species listed, and hope to eventually have several times this. Time is my constraint as I do all the field work, sound editing, writing and web building myself, and am a self-taught amateur at them all ! Perfection is not my goal and I encourage feedback on what you like and what you don't about the site and how it can be made more relevant and useful.
To provide feedback use the bottom item on the menu to the left, it is available on each page, or click HERE.