Sounds from the Forest: Bellbirds – 1’31”


On a small stretch of road the sound of bellbirds echoes throughout the forest. The gentle call of the bellbird disguises its territorial personality. Bellbirds drive-away other birds from their nesting area, resulting in population increases in insects. This is causing dieback in some forests. It is difficult to connect these facts with the bellbird’s ethereal sound.

R. Murray Schafer describes the call of the bellbird as a persistent bell-like ring always sounding at approximately the same pitch (E-F-F#), which gives rise to a soundscape as dense as that created by cicadas, but different in that it maintains a certain spatial perspective; for the bird sounds issue from recognisable points, unlike the stridulations of the cicada, which create a continual presence, seemingly without foreground or background.

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