Take a carbon-free journey to Hawaii in the second episode of Sound Escapes. The Song of the Big Island takes us from the waves on the beach to deep within the Hawaiian rainforest.
Gordon Hempton: BirdNote Presents.
[Waves and birds]
Ashley Ahearn: This is Sound Escapes - a special production from BirdNote. I’m Ashley Ahearn.
[Waves and birds]
Ashley Ahearn: We’re starting our trip here, on the western shore of the Big Island of Hawai'i. It’s early, on a warm summer morning, and the tide is coming in.
Gordon Hempton: It’s peaceful. The Pacific Ocean is “Peaceful Ocean.” The beat of the ocean is something that permeates, literally every place you go on the island.
Ashley Ahearn: That’s Gordon Hempton, the guy who recorded everything we’re listening to now - he’s our sonic guide for this series. If this is your first time meeting Gordon, you might want to go back and listen to episode one first.
Gordon and I are going to leave you to enjoy this amazing soundscape in a moment, but we want to give you just a bit of a road map for what you’ll be hearing before we do…
OK, so up ahead, there are some lava tubes and then a path leading from the beach into a tropical forest, right up the side of a mountain. But even from the highest peaks of the island...
Gordon Hempton: When you listen very carefully, you’ll still hear the beating of the Pacific drum.
Ashley Ahearn: The Big Island is home to more than two hundred species of birds, some of which are found on this island and nowhere else. But down here on the beaches and in the lowlands, don’t be surprised if you hear quite a few familiar voices. For the past 200 years, people have brought new birds to Hawai'i from all over the world. Northern Cardinals from Eastern North America, Zebra Doves from Southeast Asia —
Gordon Hempton: It’s almost as if the birds aren’t listening to each other. It’s like they’re singing on top of each other. This is a convention of street musicians, gathered from all over the world that are all playing at the same time to their own preferred genre.
Ashley Ahearn: We recommend listening with headphones if you’ve got ‘em. And, if you want to follow along and get a little help identifying the birds as you’re listening, head over to bird note dot org slash sound escapes for a list of the birds as they appear in this episode.
Now… take a deep breath and get ready to immerse yourself in the Song of the Big Island.
[Soundscape of the Big Island of Hawai’i]
Ashley Ahearn: Welcome back.
If you enjoyed this carbon-free birding vacation on the Big Island of Hawai'i, you’re in luck — there are more episodes of Sound Escapes coming soon. Subscribe now with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast, or wherever you like to listen. In our next episode Gordon will take us to Saskatchewan to hear the dawn chorus on a vast Canadian grassland.
Thank you to Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, and founder of Quiet Parks International, for capturing these amazing soundscapes and sharing them with all of us.
Sound Escapes is made possible by Jim and Birte Falconer of Seattle, Idie Ulsh, and the Horizons Foundation.
Until next time, I’m Ashley Ahearn.