Skip to main content

Wild Sounds

The sounds of garden wildlife.
Birds are often heard but sometimes rarely seen as they are usually fairly timid and often well-camouflaged. It was a treat to catch this glimpse of the woodpecker who is often in the garden.

The Wildlife Trusts' Nature Challenge 2018
Random Acts of Wildness : Day 2

woodpecker red and black
Nature Blog : The woodpecker uses its strong beak to drum a territorial sound against wood.

Why listen to wild sounds?

Nowadays, people can feel detached from local wildlife and birds by work and other commitments that can distance us from the natural world. Many people no longer recognise the birds they were once familiar with seeing in the garden, parks and school fields and some people never become familiar with their sounds enough to identify which bird it is that’s singing – if they hear it at all; wild sounds from the birds (and other garden wildlife) is often not heard, literally, as we tune out to the natural sounds around us. Engaging with nature and wildlife invites greater appreciation for it and bird song, in particular, benefits humans too. 

Familiar wildlife sounds
There are many useful and interesting bird and wildlife identification apps and beautiful bird song recordings and recordings of favourite garden birds to help identify bird and animal sounds but it can be a little overwhelming to try and learn the sounds of so many wildlife varieties, the majority of whom are unlikely to be visiting the garden on a regular basis.

Familiarity comes from the habit of listening out for the wildlife. Our ears tune in to familiar sounds so one way to recognise a wildlife sound, and make it familiar to us, is to focus on it regularly. Listen out for it, try and spot which bird or wildlife animal is making the sound. Listen to sound recordings of that particular bird or mammal. The more often this is done the more familiar the sound will become and one day you will hear the bird, woodland mammal or field wildlife - and instantly know who it is. One sound at a time.

A little robin started appearing in the garden (one of several) - she was a new visitor. After a few weeks of regularly waiting and watching in the garden and listening out carefully for her, the robin’s voice seemed to become louder, as if to alert me to her presence. Of course, a few mealy worms went down a treat too! But now I instantly know when she is in the garden.

Take time to listen out for the wildlife and it might sing for you!

Not so familiar wildlife sounds
A few years ago, along the garden fence, an unfamiliar scratching sound disturbed the otherwise peaceful, quiet garden. I heard the sound several times as I stood there very quietly but couldn’t determine what was making it. I quietly peered over the fence but saw nothing unusual, no signs of any activity, and expected it to stop as my presence was likely to have interrupted it and frightened it away. But it didn’t – it carried on scratching. It sounded like claws scratching on wood but the only visible wood was the fence and there was nothing noticeable there. I looked all around and tried to pin-point the sound. It was coming from underground! It can be difficult to know where to start in identifying animal sounds but close observations and a little bit of luck will sometimes provide the clues; at a later date, badger latrines were discovered in a hidden patch of the garden – and slowly pieces of a jigsaw could be put together - it must have been the badgers making holes all along the fence but there had never been any sign of them.

It’s fun being a wildlife nature detective, even in a garden – and knowing a wildlife animal or bird is in the local area is the first step to spotting one!

The quieter sounds of nature
The gentle buzzings, murmerings and movement sounds of winged insects, small creatures, birds and even trees: a grasshopper in the grass, a bee on the lavender, the rustle of leaves in a quiet patch of the garden or swaying gently on a tree in a breeze, the splosh as a fish gulps at surface air in a wildlife pond or when a frog that leaps into the cool water, the sound of flapping wings as a bird regains its balance after gliding through a blue sky.

Such sounds might only momentarily be heard but they anchor the senses to the natural world - and can provide a memory bond forever. Wildlife sounds have been recorded in poetry and literature for thousands of years and singing birds feature in many paintings -  nowadays, bird recordings, such as these provided by The Wildlife Trusts, can be downloaded to mobile phones for a pleasant reminder that nature is calling...along with a fun bird-bingo sheet - another reason to get out there and explore the wild sounds!

For the #30dayswild post in 2016, Nature Challenge : Listen for Wild Sounds, click here

Popular Posts from this Blog

British Wildlife Coloured Pencils

Drawing wildlife using coloured pencils Coloured pencil wildlife art paintings and drawings.  Detailed wildlife and botanical drawings and paintings can be gained using coloured pencils which range from student grade to professional grade. The following animal pencil paintings were achieved using a mixture of coloured pencil brands but mainly Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’ache Swisscolour. Detail is captured as realistically as possible whilst retaining the creative style. Realistic British wildlife art by wildlife and botanical coloured pencil artist. British Wildlife : Coloured Pencils : Mouse and Apple British Wildlife Art : Coloured Pencil Drawing of a Robin Snow Leopard : Coloured Pencils Coloured Pencil Drawing : British Bird : Owl Wood Avens : Coloured Pencils Coloured Pencils : Grape British Wildlife Art : Squirrel

British Wildlife Watercolours

British Wildlife Watercolours. British wildlife, birds and flowers are carefully painted using watercolours, based on the wildlife and botanical subjects from the garden and local woods. Wildlife such as small British woodland animals (badgers, foxes, squirrels, mice, bats, deer, otters, wild cats, stoats, weasels - even wild boar, pine martens, beavers and, one day, lynx may return to the wilds of Britain!) and UK garden birds, butterflies and bees, along with ladybirds and dragonflies, add to the joys to be found in the garden, or just beyond, all year round. Watercolours can be used to capture the beauty in the animal or plant subject using the fluidity of the paints. Everyone's favourite! A beautiful owl resting amongst the bluebells.   British Wildlife Watercolours : Watercolour Owl and Bluebell British Wildlife Watercolours : Watercolour Bird Painting of a Sparrow and Worm Watercolours can be used in a variety of wildlife paintings for different effects bas

Drawing Hares

Drawing Wildlife. When asked to present a wildlife art demo in March, one animal sprang to mind! The month has been all about March hares! Here's a work in progress study of a hare using coloured pencils. Getting ready for an art session. As preparation is key for any art demo, several images of hares were selected to be used as reference material - and so the wildlife sketching and drawing was ready for working on the easel at home. Drawing Hares and other Wildlife. Planning time to a hare's hair's breadth! The aim of the art demo was to go through the stages of completing a pencil drawing of a hare using coloured pencils. The demo was scheduled for about 2 hours' drawing time... Detailed, realistic coloured pencil drawings can take a very long time to complete, even in the comfort of an artist's usual studio or dedicated art space. Natural nerves in drawing a hare, or any animal, in front of members of an art group (in this case, consisting of

British Wildlife Pastel Art

British Wildlife Art in Pastels. Fine art, traditional animal paintings and bird paintings in detail: local wildlife, animals and birds of the countryside - meadows, woods, riversides and gardens. Paintings and drawings undertaken using soft pastels, occasionally enhanced using pastel pencils. Wildlife pastel classes, workshops and demos available. British Wildlife Painting : Pastels British Wildlife Painting : Pastels Countryside Painting : Pheasant British Wildlife Art : Small Mammals

Wildlife Drawing Classes

  Wildlife Drawing Classes   Wildlife art classes in drawing wildlife. There is more to be gained from drawing British wildlife than drawing and sketching alone – with wildlife art classes, there can be enjoyment in discovering about some of Britain’s favourite animals and birds in the company of other artists and nature enthusiasts, through drawing wildlife classes which bring together like-minded individuals in a pleasant setting. Drawing animals and birds from life is an excellent way to engage with the natural world around us. An understanding of wildlife anatomy, behaviour and environment, through observations and sketches, can help build the skills and knowledge necessary for more detailed graphite or coloured pencil drawings of British wildlife and birds. Drawing class subjects include the familiar favourites such as: foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, mice, deer and birds, plus some of the more elusive characters from the British countryside – badgers, otters, wildcats, newts

Bird Drawing Workshops

Bird drawing workshops can be a good source of information for anyone who loves birds and wants to draw them, especially beginner artists and improvers. Drawing Workshops. Wildlife Art. Kent. Surrey. Sussex. London. Drawing workshops and classes are a great place to pick up advice and resources that can be used to discover more about birds in the local area. Workshops can help introduce the beginner to outdoor bird sketching and keeping a bird diary or nature journal that can be used to identify birds and develop the drawings to produce more detailed, realistic bird paintings. Regular sketching can significantly improve bird drawings and paintings whilst developing knowledge of bird anatomy and habitats. There are many strange and wonderful aspects to a bird’s body (skeleton, muscles, feet, feathers and beaks) that serve a function and it is often through sketching and detailed drawing that these anatomical wonders are closely observed and begin to be understood.

British Wildlife Watercolours : Garden Birds

Bird Art : from the Garden There are a number of British birds that visit the garden daily for the abundance of naturally growing berries and seeds - and it's a good way to get ideas for later watercolours and drawings of birds. The traditional garden bird, the sparrow, seems to have been replaced by the more colourful birds such as bluetits, goldfinches, long-tailed tits and chaffinches – although a few sparrows do usually manage to make a daily appearance – especially around their favourite bird table where additional nuts, seeds and worms tempt even the most reluctant visitors. A favourite garden visitor is our British National Bird – the robin redbreast – or rather three of them! Plus all the wood pigeons and doves, crows, blackbirds, thrushes, woodpeckers – green and red - even fieldfares – it can get quite a busy! That is the best time to make sure a pencil and paper is nearby – for the birds are always entertaining to watch and sketch – it’s a most enjoyable way to

Traditional Bee Drawings

Honey Bee Illustration Traditional Bee Drawings at wildlife workshops. Enjoy a wildlife art workshop drawing bees! Beginner artists and nature enthusiasts can explore the world of bees and bee art through bee drawing workshops, alongside artists wishing to improve their art skills and discover more about the wildlife world of bees! This wildlife drawing of a honey bee was initially created as a quick sketch in preparation for a bee show. The original rough sketch had been done and, with a few colours applied to give an impression, it was left only partially coloured and a very rough version of what had been planned for a complete drawing of a bee. Before it was completed, however, several enquiries had been made, asking to purchase the rough bee drawing and, eventually, this bee was created but not before several hours of research into the anatomy of bees had been carried out! It was a good experience, though, because it provided the necessary information to get on and

Otter Painted in Stages in Pastel

British Wildlife Art from the Riverside. Drawing otters in stages using soft pastels : Wildlife Art Demo : Otter 1) Study the otter and gather reference material for painting Some otters were splashing around in the mud on an icy cold day, which provided the chance to watch them at play for a while and take a few reference photos for  later. British Wildlife Drawing :  Otters : Demos and Workshops 2) Sketch out the otter Back in the warmth, a rough sketch of the otter was done onto a neutral shade of pastel paper. The main features were added with soft pastels to create some form to work with. British Wildlife Drawing :  Otters : Demos and Workshops 3) Build up the layers More colour and depth were created slowly by building up the layers. British Wildlife Drawing :  Otters : Demos and Workshops 4) Add some detail The finer details, such as whiskers, were added using well-sharpened pastel pencils. British Wildlife Drawing :  Otters : Demos a

Botanical Art

Traditional and contemporary, more playful, botanical watercolours of wildlife fruits and flowers from a semi-rural garden. From nuts for Winter storage to uplifting Spring flowers to shady hiding places beneath the Summer leaves to juicy Autumn berries – a garden full of wildlife fruits is very inviting to the local woodland animals and birds.   Botanical Art Watercolours. Paintings from the Garden, Local Countryside and Woods. Flowers and the Country Kitchen Garden. Contemporary Botanical Art : Buddleia : Watercolour and Ink Contemporary Botanical Art : Magnolia British Botanical Art : Daffodil Traditional Botanical Art : Hydrangea Flower Traditional Botanical Art : Rhododendron Leaf Botanical Sketches : Kentish Cobnut from the Garden British Botanical Art : Daffodil British Botanical Art : Natural History Watercolour Contemporary Botanical Art : Cyclamen Leaf Contemporary Botanical Art : Grape in Coloured Pencil Botanica