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Birds connect us with the joy and wonder of nature. By telling vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face, BirdNote inspires listeners to care about the natural world – and takes step to protect it.

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Shows With Contributions by Gordon Hempton


Sound Escapes - Echos in Pipestone Canyon

Back when he was a bike messenger in downtown Seattle, Gordon Hempton was drawn to the sonic richness of a remote canyon in eastern Washington State. “Pipestone Canyon was my oasis from all the urban din and construction activity,” he says. The canyon walls echo and amplify the sounds of…
Common Loon

Sound Escapes - Loon Love Songs

In the spring, Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota bursts into song. For nature sound recordist Gordon Hempton, the greatest sound is the arrival of loons. A fond and venerable bit of folklore holds that loons mate for life. In their calls, Gordon hears true love. “It was full of…
Amazon Kingfisher

Sound Escapes - Zabalo, a Living Eden

Gordon Hempton started a nonprofit that designates “quiet parks” around the world. These special places are to be protected from noise pollution, where you can experience true, profound quiet. On Earth Day 2019, the first Quiet Park was created on the Zabalo River in Ecuador. “There’s no…
Yoho National Park at Sunrise

Our Solar-Powered Jukebox

In the season finale of Sound Escapes, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton takes us on a whirlwind tour of nearly every habitat on the planet. From tropical forests to deserts to wetlands, you'll hear what the Earth truly is: music spinning in an otherwise silent space. Thank you for joining…
A slow, burbeling brook

Mark Twain's Limpid Brook

“By modern standards, Mark Twain was really a switched-on listener,” says our Sound Escapes host, Gordon Hempton. “He brilliantly used sound in the crafting of his novels. Birds would sing at the right time of day and in the right situations. He would use thunderstorms to mark the…
A canoe on the shore at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota

Song of the Paddle

After a long winter in northern Minnesota, everything seems to awaken at once. From the songs of migratory birds to the croaks of frogs and toads, we can witness a wonderful rejuvenation. In this episode of Sound Escapes, paddle a canoe through Voyageurs National Park alongside Gordon…
Pipestone Canyon in Eastern Washington State

The Poetics of Space

This week’s episode of Sound Escapes takes us to Pipestone Canyon in Eastern Washington, where you can hear a ridgetop wind come from a mile away. Here, you can not only listen to coyotes in the distance, but also how the coyote waves as it passes through the canyon: a form of dimensional…
A wildebeast walks across the savanna

Kalahari Sunrise

In this week’s episode of Sound Escapes, experience dawn in the Kalahari Desert as the sun rises over the sandy savannah of southern Africa. It’s nearly level at this part of the Kalahari Desert. The trees are widely spaced. There’s almost no available water. You cannot see very far — the…
Water rushes over Yosemite Falls

John Muir's Yosemite

“Water makes every sound imaginable and occupies every frequency audible to the human ear and certainly spans the dynamic range from the faintest sound to near distortion,” says Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker. The writings of John Muir can guide our ears, as we listen to the water music…
Two people in a canoe on Zabalo river in Ecuador

Amazon Awakenings

The world's first wilderness quiet park was certified at Ecuador's Zabalo River in 2019. In this episode of Sound Escapes, you'll hear sounds recorded by Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, at Zabalo River Wilderness Quiet Park — deep inside the Amazon. Gordon calls this place a living Eden…