Soundscapes for “Flowers and Feathers: Friends or Foes?”

This commission by the Esperance Community Arts Centre is for a series of workshops to introduce people to the skills and techniques of outdoor sound recording. Perdy visited Esperance from 10-20 July to run the first set of workshops. There was also an artist talk 3pm Saturday 11 July. The next visit is 17-22 September to assemble and install the final soundscapes.

Highlighting the important relationships between local plant and bird species through listening and sound, recordings will be undertaken in the Esperance area and be displayed for audiences at a local hall. Participants are working towards producing short ‘sound stories’ for the Esperance Wildflower Festival in September 2020. 

Links for participants


Online collections of nature sounds — FREE! Freesound — also free after you sign up

general field skills e.g.

Video: Field Recording Introduction With Ian Wellman – Zoom H5 Setup And Other Microphones Explained

Video: Martyn Stewart’s Recording nature sounds (northern hemisphere)

Audacity: Complete Tutorial Guide to Audacity for Beginners

Audacity Editing for Beginners: 16 Tips in 9 Minutes

Organising sound files
Once you start to accumulate many sound files, how do you organise them? There are different sound software you can use and every sound recordist will have a slightly different approach. But after getting back from the field, most have:

  • an archive of unaltered files
  • a backup system; and
  • a step where they check a recording, making notes and marking good/bad/interesting bits in a recording

Here is one example:

Examples of soundscapes

Bernie Krause’s This Is What Extinction Sounds Like Video

Article Everything Is Wrong: Bernie Krauseʼs Concept of ‘Biophony’

Interview with Chris Watson about his thoughts behind soundscape recording:

Why bioacoustics (listening to nature) is important for science

Kim V. Goldsmith’s amazing Pulse of the wetland project (currently underway)

Australian artist Garth Paine talks about using sound to monitor ecosystem health

Perdy’s soundscape of Derbarl Yerrigan (Fremantle Harbour/Swan River)

Please listen to A forecast of storm (Derbarl Yerrigan) with headphones.

The Australian Acoustic Observatory has a field site at Monjebup Reserve


Australian wildlife sound recording group
Australian forum for acoustic ecology
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library

Sound recording forums and lists and Facebook pages


“Capturing Wildlife Sounds: A Useful Guide.” written by Roger Boughton* (Lancashire, UK) and Steven Shepard (Vermont, USA). Read about it here: and purchase it here

*I went to a workshop with Roger Boughton who was very knowledgeable and great to learn from