The free audio archive Sounds of the Forest is an interactive sound map celebrating the noises of forests around the world. This open source library of nature recordings is run by Timber Festival—a UK-based annual celebration of forests and trees. When the physical festival had to be canceled due to COVID-19, Timber Festival decided to use the power of sound to bring nature-lovers together.
Sounds of the Forest demonstrates how ecosystems can make surprisingly distinct noises. Recordings are identified by location; however, some also include notes on vocal birds and insects. In the Rota Forest (on the island of Rota, Northern Mariana Islands), an early-morning recording by Andria Kroner includes the bird calls of the Mariana Crow, Rufous Fantail, Micronesian Starling, Feral Chicken, and Black Drongo. In Banff National Park Biome Forest, Canada, contributor Luba D. recorded the call of a red-tailed hawk. The recording is made richer by a small story attached—the contributor found a delicate feather of the aforesaid hawk. These forest recordings represent a sharing of sounds and memories.
The international archive contains nature recordings from all continents except Antarctica. On the website's map, British and Western European forests densely populated with user-submitted sounds. Other forests—like the Amazon—have few to no recordings listed. To further expand the collection, people around the world are encouraged to record and submit their own woodland recordings. For their 2021 celebration in the National Forest, Timber Festival writes, “Selected artists will be responding to the sounds that are gathered, creating music, audio, artwork or something else incredible.” The festival plans to hold their in-person celebration July 2-4, 2021.
For those who are missing the natural world, or looking to relax to the sounds of nature, Timber Festival's Sounds of the Forest is the perfect digital escape.