Cumberland Island: Pre-Dawn Cacophony

Cumberland Island, Dawn
Cumberland Island after sunup
Photo by Tom Campbell

This track was recorded on Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast in May 2009, in the pitch dark about an hour before dawn.

Sitting at a picnic table under the live oak trees at the intersection of “Interstate Zero” (the main road down the center of the island) and the path to the Dungeness Dock, I used the stereo T-mic to record into the MicroTrack II. This is a four-minute slice taken from a much longer recording.

Omnidirectional microphones pick up everything in the soundscape — birds, animals, and man-made sounds from 360 degrees all around. Here you hear a cacophony of sounds, mostly birds.

      1. cumberland_predawn_may3_2009_01

There are a few points of particular interest along the way:

  • at 22 seconds and again at about the three-minute mark, you can hear the warning snorts of deer (they probably were well aware of my presence and a bit alarmed), and
  • at 1:22 in, a large-ish bird takes wing.

Sounds I would have never heard with my “naked ears” were amplified by the microphone. Listening through headphones as I recorded these sounds, I was keenly aware of animals stepping on twigs, probably 15 or 20 yards away. When that bird — a great-horned owl, I’m guessing — took flight, it was a very startling moment.

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