Category Archives: Audio

The Owl Returns

I mentioned a few days ago that I realized that I hadn’t heard the owls in a while.

Last night, at least one of them was back, loud and proud, right across the street.

I’ve taken out the 18 to 20 seconds of traffic noises, sirens, and low flying aircraft in between each hoot, turning about 120 seconds real time into 26 seconds of hooting.

I’m glad they’re back – I hope more follow. I love it when three or four of them get hooting across the canyons.

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Filed under Audio, Birds

“Clicking” Hummingbird Calls

I’ve a couple of times tried to post audio tracks here of the “clicking” sounds that hummingbirds make. I’m going to try that again today because I think I’ve succeeded in getting some better tools and producing a better product to share.

For whatever reason, tonight the hummingbird “clicking” songs outside in the back were particularly loud and energetic. From inside the house, in the living room at the front of the house, it sounded like that ticking noise you get when the oven or furnace is heating up sometimes, but much faster. When I went back into the kitchen, I could then clearly hear from the open back door that it was the hummingbirds.

I tried recording the audio and video on my iPhone and was pleased with the result. I can clearly hear this high-pitched clicking, and can also hear the loud, lower-pitched “zoom” or “buzz” as they’re flitting around. Another good thing was that it wasn’t just Little Bastard, the very territorial male Anna’s Hummingbird that’s been driving all of the others off. There were four of them out there at once at the two feeders. I don’t know if something happened to Little Bastard and the others were moving back in (it was dark, I couldn’t see their coloration) or if maybe Little Bastard gave in to hormones and now has a harem with whom he’s sharing “his” feeders. Either way, there were a bunch of hummers and that could explain all of the “clicking.”

When I came in and listened to the audio, I could hear everything quite clearly. There’s a dog bark in there at one point early on and one of the house wrens sounding off because I’m standing near their nest (they’re up in the porch rafters over the spare refrigerator) but for the most part you can hear the clicking and the zooming quite clearly. I was very pleased.

Then I transferred the file to my desktop computer. And I was not pleased at all.

I’ve bitched about this at least a couple times in the past. When the iPhone compresses the video to transfer it off to another system, the algorithm used is VERY heavily weighted toward the bass end of the audio spectrum. So the result on the desktop was like I was standing next to a running car or A/C unit, with just a tiny little bit of the high-frequency clicks audibel far, far in the background. This sort of sucked!

***deep, calming breath time***

After a bit of reflection a little voice said to me:

  • I recorded this on what is essentially a handheld super computer, with a gazillion apps available
  • I have desktop systems that are top of the line, also with a gazillion programs available, including some pretty decent audio and video editing utilities. I may not have a lot of experience with them and I may not know exactly what I’m doing, but…
  • I’m a bright guy with a fair amount of at least decent, “advanced amateur” experience in editing and creating audio, video, images, and almost 50 years of computer and IT experience
  • So, in theory, shouldn’t I be able to rip the audio track off of the video on my iPhone, upload that audio file to my desktop, use one of my audio editing programs to re-adjust the equilization to lower the background hum of the bass that the iPhone wants to put in there and bring back out the high-frequency sounds from the hummingbirds?
  • The answer to that would be, “YES!” At least, I think it is.

Try this and tell me if you can hear what I’ve described:

It’s a 25 second clip, with the dog barking at 1.6 seconds and the house finch sounding off at 7.2 seconds. All throughout there’s constant “clicking,” with the “zoomy buzzing” at about 5 to 10 seconds, 12 seconds, and 24 seconds.

Can you hear it? I really hope so. Please et me know.

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Filed under Audio, Birds