I'm in a situation where a show calls for some "historically-accurate" (within reason, 'geographically-accurate' may be the more correct term) ambiences in terms of animal and bird choices. It's placed in medieval England, so I'm seeking cleanly-recorded birds/birdsong of European variety (same with cicadas, as I've been told they make different sounds in the European regions than the more traditionally-found library material which covers the US Deep South variety). Ambience versions of bird beds are fine as well. And also seeking animals of the area like a red fox or grey wolf - especially tasty, reverberant distant, evocative calls for offstage (in terms of distance/style, think of how Common Loon recordings sound) - not the growly close up stuff.

The Tonsturm Mountain Air package seems right on the money for the birds/ambience area, yet I am seeking something to compliment it in the lines of more bird/insect specifics of the European region. And also seeking some animals.

The BBC Nature series seems like a 'money' goldmine of source material, but it's well outside of my budget (and based upon the cost, it makes more sense to wait until I could invest in the entire BBC package as one unit).

I'm also trying to avoid buying single-sounds in the lines of Sounddogs only because I don't want to be spot-paying for FX I'm going to be investing in later on in the larger sets. So that leaves me with either custom recording in Europe (which I feasibly can't facilitate), trading sounds with someone who has custom recordings, or finding a nice boutique FX package along the lines of the Mountain Air that I can invest in. Anyone have any ideas of where to look or who would be willing to trade who's got some sounds from the region?

Also, I'm in the process of checking out the McCauley library too, but I've got a feeling that won't come cheap nor be a royalty-free license, which defeats the whole purpose of the investment if that's the case. But we'll see.

I've been referencing this list too to for research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Great_Britain

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

5 Answers 5


I recorded this sound effect (recorded in 4 channel surround) which you're welcome to use: http://soundcloud.com/arrowheadaudiosfx/birds-sample

Unfortunately, there's a touch of motorway in there, but, if you'd like the full sample then give me a PM or an e-mail ([email protected]) and I can sort you out.


EDIT: Forgot to add that this was recorded in Warwickshire, England.

  • Thanks for the offer Fred, I like that a lot! The motorway isn't too bad actually - I can filter down the 400-450Hz and it'll probably go away. I'll be in touch soon via email and happy to do a trade. Jan 14, 2012 at 4:31

The McCauley library won't be cheap, but they'll have what you need for sure.

Outside of finding a generous nature recordist in the UK, your best luck is indeed in the BBC library. Lots of properly labeled, well recorded UK bird sounds in there. The general BBC library (not just the nature specific one) also has a lot of birds. I know it's a bummer buying specific sounds, then purchasing them as part of a set later.

I'd also suggest asking this question on the Yahoo Nature Recordist group.

Good luck.

  • If only my CC could agree with a $5000 library purchase ;) Thanks for the tips! I've now managed to find a few things in my pull list that cover most of the bases in terms of what I have access to, it's just finding the extra little bit to take it to the next level. Jan 10, 2012 at 0:37

This chap is top notch - http://www.chriswatson.net/


I've got plenty of high quality recordings in my personal library if your still looking? I live over here in the UK and am out and about recording all the time. Have some nice recordings up in Edinburgh when I was up there and also from Norfolk where I am now. Give me a shout if your still stuck... [email protected] :-)

  • Thanks Phil! I'll be in touch soon. Always interested in a good trade :) Jan 14, 2012 at 1:32

Have you thought about using the likes of SoundDogs? They have the BBC libraries but you can buy individual sounds from it.

  • Yeah, I considered that approach, but I know I'm going to invest in these sets in the future so I'm trying to avoid purchasing sounds I would end up re-paying for. Thanks though! Jan 14, 2012 at 1:31
  • That's very understandable. I bought part of the BBC library from Sound Ideas as I needed something general for tracklay and didn't want to spend too much. It has a lot of atmospheres and was only $600. sound-ideas.com/bbc-1-60-hd.html
    – ianjpalmer
    Jan 16, 2012 at 10:27

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