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Sound of the future

CWP bitternThe bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is known for the males’ booming calls during the breeding season. Hidden amongst the reeds, the deep sounds they produce, resonant of a bellowing bull (botaurus is latin for bull), pulse across the water revealing a presence but not a location: the frequency of the calls makes it very difficult to locate individual birds. Could these calls soon be heard in the Cotswold Water Park? As global warming inundates the bittern’s coastal breeding areas, it is responding by moving to inland wetlands, and bitterns have now been seen in the Cotswolds. But, from what I can gather, they have yet to breed. Sometime soon these alluvial lands might vibrate to the call of the bittern and perhaps, within a generation or two, the bittern’s call will become an accepted part of the local soundscape. So I stuck this sonic oracle into my audio analysis programme and this is what it looked like! Have you heard a bittern call in the the Water Park? If so, do get in touch.

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