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Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus © Luke Seitz ML 50521501
Use high quality media for research, education, or commercial use

How to request media
Here’s how to provide credits

Audio and video recordings in the Macaulay Library are used by a broad audience for a variety of purposes. Scientists use the collection to better understand and preserve our planet. Teachers use our sounds and videos to illustrate the natural world and create exciting interactive learning opportunities. Our collection has even been used in movies and art! Through all of these, we help people depict nature accurately and bring the wonders of animal behavior to the widest possible audience.

If you would like to use the media from the Macaulay Library, you’ll need to request it through our website, and give proper credits. There is no licensing or studio fee for research requests.

Use Cases

Crossbills of North America: Species and Red Crossbill Call Types 

As one of the most striking differences in bird occurrence from year-to-year in many northern regions of the world, finch irruptions are often exciting events. Will this winter have Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings dripping from the local crabapples? Will crossbills be crunching away in the conifers? Ron Pittaway’s finch forecast is always a much-anticipated read for… Read more

Decades of bird signals, songs digitized for scientific research – Science Nation

The world’s largest scientific archive of animal signal recordings, the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, is partnering with other institutions to co-curate and digitize an enormous archive of animal audio and video recordings from the library’s vaults. The analog material in the library’s collection at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology includes recordings of mainly birds,… Read more

Hermit Thrush Song Differs Across North America

Across the far reaches of America, the English language is spoken in colorful variation. If you’re Texan, I reckon y’all fixin’ for some coke in this summer heat, but as a Michigander, yuh guys go tuh gedduh pop. New Yorkers and Bostonians drink soda, but some wicked wee-id Bostonians drink tonic, while some New Yorkers… Read more

Dance Moves Support Evidence for New Bird-of-Paradise Species

The Superb Bird-of-Paradise—the shape-shifting black bird of central New Guinea that woos its mate with an iridescent blue “smiley-face” dance—has an equally superb cousin in the isolated mountains of Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Peninsula in the island’s far west. Scientist Ed Scholes and photographer Tim Laman, with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds-of-Paradise Project, have now… Read more

Building and Using the Macaulay Library Collections

When you don’t know something, you look it up. Perhaps you Google it, or go directly to Wikipedia. If you’re of a certain age, you used to go to a library and find the row of identical, black and gold books of Encyclopedia Britannica.  You may even ask someone, but you go to a trusted… Read more

Contributor Profile: Lance Benner

Lance Benner records audio of birds while mountain biking at night. He has regular routes and stops, and catches some recordings opportunistically, like an American dipper singing. Living in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, he does most of his birding around his home. But he has also done some extensive traveling. As a Planetary… Read more

The Macaulay Library in the Sonic Sea

Jacques Cousteau’s The Silent World (1956) seriously underestimated the sounds marine life make, but he may have captured a bygone time when the ocean was quieter than it is now. The Sonic Sea documents the cacophony humans have created in the ocean. With increasingly global commerce, ships with loud engines are crisscrossing oceans on super highways,… Read more

Macaulay Goes to the Movies

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… Read more

“What is Missing?”

  A Multimedia Exhibit by Artist Maya Lin World renowned artist Maya Lin created a one-of-a-kind multimedia experience to explore species extinction and our perception and memories of the past, present and future. What is Missing debuted in 2009, and is an on-going interactive project for visitors to explore videos and sounds, learn about species and habitat loss,… Read more