Hey everyone,

Maybe some of you have heard about this, but Cornell University has compiled a library of nearly 150,000 nature recordings representing approximately 9000 species (primarily birds). The earliest recording dates back to 1929, and the clips come from a variety of media and sources (of course, with varying quality and usability). Certainly inspirational, and some of the recordings are pretty hard to believe — the HAMMERING WALRUS sounds mentioned in a blog post are pretty mind-blowing.

HERE is the libary's home page.

HERE is the link to the blog post.


  • But it is very important to note that these are not royalty free, they require commercial licensing to use the recordings. I have actually spoken with them about this in the pas . A great resource, yes, but unfortunately it's not a free for all. I like referencing it to discern what bird I captured in a recording. Jan 29, 2013 at 18:55
  • So what are their rates? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth contacting them. At least a ballpark figure can be useful.
    – Cat
    Jan 29, 2013 at 19:18
  • I don't recall exactly, but they treat it like needle-drop licensing - expensive and on a per-cue usage basis. That's what I remember at least, it was a big turn off to me. Jan 29, 2013 at 22:34
  • I suppose posting this to a forum of sound designers would imply that it might have commercial benefit to you all... my apologies if I misled anyone. I think it's a cool reference, as Stavro mentioned, and potentially some inspiration for our original, creative work. I also happen to enjoy hearing very old nature recordings that still sound quite pristine (that 1929 recording of the sparrow is entirely useable).
    – Matt Glenn
    Jan 29, 2013 at 23:30
  • No apology necessary, it's all good. I remember it being ambiguous when I discovered the site and only learned the details after speaking directly to them - one would think, in an effort to protect what they do, would have more complete disclaimers and legalese on the site about this, but it's all quite vague until you speak with someone. Was just sharing some of my experience to hopefully save people from the ambiguity. It's a great resource I refer to often nonetheless, especially for seeing what species are located where to aid in authenticity in the edit. Jan 30, 2013 at 4:43


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