Macaulay Goes to the Movies

By Macaulay Library Team
Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus © Ryan Schain ML 37851091

The bird songs recorded in the Macaulay Library can provide serious entertainment. Recordings from the collection are used for media productions, either for authentic representations of animal sounds, or mixed to create an entertaining atmosphere. You may have heard a strange, prehistoric cry from the mythical phoenix Fawkes in the Warner Brothers movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, or European bird songs in Pixar’s animated film Ratatouille. Or perhaps you caught animal sounds on “Go Diego Go!” on Nickelodeon, NPR’s Wild Sounds series, The Sonic Sea, or BirdNote from Seattle Audubon.

Filmmaker Ken Burns says, “We wanted our film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, to sound as authentic and as beautiful as it looked, so we turned to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In terms of getting the bird sounds, that was our ‘best idea.'”