Macaulay Library

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Macaulay Library is the world's largest archive of animal sounds. It includes more than 175,000 audio recordings covering 75 percent of the world's bird species. There are an ever-increasing numbers of insect, fish, frog, and mammal recordings. The video archive includes over 50,000 clips, representing over 3,500 species.[1] The Library is part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology of the Cornell University.

Macaulay Library provides over the internet to the public more than 150,000 of their recordings.[2]


Arthur Augustus Allen and Peter Paul Kellogg made the first recordings of bird sound on May 18, 1929 in an Ithaca park, recording a song sparrow, a house wren, and a rose-breasted grosbeak. They use motion-picture film with synchronized sound. This was the Beginning of Cornell Library of Natural Sounds. Graduate student Albert R. Brand and Cornell undergraduate M. Peter Keane developed recording equipment for use in the open field. In the next two years they had successfully recorded more than 40 species of birds. In 1931 Peter Keane and True McLean (a Cornell professor in Electrical Engineering) designed and built a parabolic reflector for field recordings of bird songs. They using World War I parabola molds from the Cornell Physics Department. In 1940 Albert R. Brand produced an extensive bird song field guide album “American Bird Songs”. The sales of phonograph records of bird sounds remained a key source of income for the Lab of Ornithology since these days.[3]

Recording Data[edit]

The basic data of the modern recordings contains:

  1. Species name
  2. Date
  3. Time of day
  4. Location
  5. GPS coordinates
  6. Behavioral context of sound
  7. Natural sound or response to playback. If playback was used announce this on tape.
  8. Number of individuals
  9. Habitat description
  10. Weather (e.g. degree of overcast, air temperature, water temperature (important for amphibian recordings.)
  11. Recording equipment-Audio recorder make and model; microphone make and model; if used filter positions
  12. Distance to animal[4]


The name of Macaulay Library honoring Linda and William (Bill) Macaulay, which donated a significant campaign contribution to fund the new facility (2003) of the library at Sapsucker Woods.[5] Linda Macaulay added also nearly 6,000 individual birdsong recordings of over 2,600 species.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ml: Faq". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  2. ^ Uhr (2013-04-30). "Vogelstimmen, Musik-Workshops, Politik für Naive (Archiv)". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  3. ^ "ML: History". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  4. ^ "ML: Field Recording". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  5. ^ "ML: History". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  6. ^ "ML: Acknowledgements". Retrieved 2014-05-19.