The din of a tropical Australian dawn chorus, the jazzy tune of an indri lemur, the cacaphony of an underwater walrus—these are among the 150,000 audio recordings recently digitized and made publicly available as part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s Macaulay Library. Compiling recordings from the past 84 years, archivists have spent over a decade digitizing 7,513 hours of animal sounds with an emphasis on birds. For conservationists and animal scholarship at large, the project marks a monumental step towards democratizing ornithological resources. As for the layman, the Macaulay Library is likely to inspire and inform a new generation of birding enthusiasts.
Long recognized as the oldest and largest collection in the world, the Macaulay Library now aims to be the most accessible as well. The recordings are searchable and can be browsed by taxonomy, and plans have been set in motion to enable user-uploaded recordings.
Recording sounds in the arctic by Mike Anderson; Great Horned Owl image by Ruth Baker