Date: 1/28/18 9:44 am From: Barry E. Blust <barryblust...> Subject: Re: Hearing Outside Birds Inside
A couple of years ago I was looking for such an item and researched what I could find online. I looked at both wireless and wired products. There were a few products but one stood out as being much better in performance than the others and that was the Nature's Window 3 Outdoor Sound Monitor. It was more expensive than the others but I decided to try it and have not been disappointed. I spend a lot of time at my PC from which I cannot see my feeders and have the unit in a nearby room with the mike just outside a window which is about 25 feet from my nearest feeder. I can hear bird vocalizations from a good distance beyond that and more than once have been alerted by scolding birds to a hawk or raven in the area. The mike is sensitive and picks up wind noise and rain so it's not very useful on windy or rainy days. But overall I am happy with the product.
Barry E. Blust
21 Rabbit Run Lane
Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
-- John Muir
From: Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania [mailto:<PABIRDS...>] On Behalf Of Andrew McGann
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2018 3:35 PM
Subject: Re: [PABIRDS] Hearing Outside Birds Inside
This is something I’ve toyed with in the past, with a system that I kluged together myself. I agree that it’s a lovely idea to achieve the acoustic effect of having open windows when it’s too cold outside to open your windows.
The basic setup is simple enough and it’s not hard to do. But I never ended up with a robust weatherproof system that I wanted to leave set up and running all the time. I put together a system that I would set up and turn on when the weather was nice and the birds were singing, and then I would take it down when I wasn’t using it. My microphone wasn’t waterproof.
Basically, you can use any old set of computer speakers and any old microphone. But the tricky part is that you need an amplifier of some kind in the middle. Most small/portable audio recording devices have a built-in amplifier and you can set the recording device to “monitor” the microphone input on the headphone jack (without using the Record function). Plug the
speaker(s) into the recorder’s headphone jack. You can control the overall system volume by adjusting both the mic level and the headphone volume.
While you could use a computer’s soundboard and input/output jacks, most people will find that a small/portable audio recorder device with an AC power adapter is what you want. If there’s no AC power adapter, you’ll go through a bunch of batteries.
For the recorder/amplifier component in the middle, I used a Zoom (brand)
H2 “Handy Recorder”. The Amazon link to the newer version of it is here:
There are many other kinds of small audio recorders out there. Some are obviously better and more expensive, and others are cheaper (but maybe not
worse) alternatives. Caveat emptor. But one advantage to using an audio recorder device such as this is that you can set some filters on the character of the sound using the recorder’s menus and settings. For example, if you have a road nearby, it’s nice to reduce the low-frequency sounds, such as traffic and the rumble of wind in the microphone.
Finally, a word of caution. The idea of an acoustically-transparent window that lets in the music of the natural world is a simple and seductive idea.
But if you go through with experimenting with a setup like this, you will probably find out why most window engineers have been working on making modern windows and other building materials increasingly acoustically noise-proof. There’s a big noisy world of traffic, trains, aircraft, and other loud and unnatural sounds outside most people’s windows. There’s a high likelihood that your outdoor environmental sounds may not match your imagination’s expectations when you pipe them indoors. Most of us are not lucky enough to live at the end of a long driveway on a lightly-traveled road without major arteries nearby.
The positive side of this harsh reality is that it can enkindle a new appreciation for anthropogenically-quiet environments. (For more on this
subject: watch this short video: https://vimeo.com/213540540 ) If the idea of natural soundscapes is what you’re really after, you may want to bring your new audio recording equipment into the field to record a “better”
(more naturally beautiful) acoustic landscape, full of birds, where the only “noise” is the whisper of the wind through the trees. If you capture recordings, you can just as easily bring them home, play them on your speakers, and let your mind drift back to the woods and fields. There is even a modern social networking platform for hosting and sharing your recordings, just as easily as you would share photographs. “SoundCloud” is the site, and for top-notch profiles, check out Martyn Stewart https://soundcloud.com/martynstewart and Lang Elliott https://soundcloud.com/musicofnature
Lastly, if you’re the kind of person who has fallen down the budget-busting rabbit hole of photography, or especially videography, there is an entire universe of glorious high-end microphones, amplifiers, recording devices, and equipment out there. It’s a slippery slope...
But the upside is that I think anything that engenders enhanced appreciation of the natural world is a good thing!
On Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 2:01 PM Donna Foyle < <000000041223ffd5-dmarc-request...> wrote:
> This is an interesting topic. Perhaps people could respond to the list
> Donna Foyle
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Jan 26, 2018, at 12:04 PM, Barb Elliot <nflickerbarb...>
> > I am interested in being able to hear outside birdsong inside my
> > house to alert me to the presence of birds when my windows are
> > closed. I am especially interested in having such a system during
> > spring migration so
> > can hear on an indoor speaker the sound of a singing/chipping bird picked
> > up by a microphone in my yard. I think it would be great to know what
> > birds are around this way and be able to go outside to see them. My
> > yard is about a half acre and I'd like a microphone that is
> > sensitive enough
> > pick up calls/songs not just from around my feeders, but from birds
> > elsewhere on my or adjoining properties and maybe even flyovers that
> > may
> > calling.
> > Can anyone recommend such a system? I am aware of the TMB company
> > that makes a wired system called Nature's Window 3 Outdoor Sound
> > Monitor. I would be willing to purchase this or a wireless system,
> > but would like to have feedback or recommendations from anyone who
> > has used this type of system.
> > You can email me directly at <nflickerbarb...>
> > Thanks very much,
> > Barb Elliot
> > Chester County
++Sent from my iPhone++