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Listen to the Winners From Studio 360’s Birdsong-Into-Music Challenge

Go to to listen to the contest winner
The contest winner used a sample of a Macaulay Library recording of the Brown Creeper. Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar via Birdshare.

Last month, along with the rest of us, the national radio program Studio 360 started getting spring fever. In anticipation of warmer temps and returning songbirds, they issued a challenge to their listeners: Remix Spring—and they’ve just announced the winners.

The idea was to celebrate the annual burst of music that arrives each spring as songbirds rise early and belt out their best melodies. Working with the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library, they chose 10 birds from our 150,000-song archive and put the recordings on their website for download. Audio curator Greg Budney helped narrow down the list and appeared on the program to kick off the challenge.

Listeners simply had to incorporate one or more of the songs into a piece of music that they composed. The show’s producers received more than 100 entries in genres ranging from classical to electronica.

This weekend they announced the overall winner and two judges’ favorites. The winner, Marlo Reynolds, composed a jazzy collage called “Certhia Americana.” The title refers to the Brown Creeper, whose sharp, insistent song runs throughout the piece. Filling out the music is a spoken-word performance that remixes written descriptions from our All About Birds species account into a meditative poem.

The show also posted all the entries to their page for anyone who wants to have a listening party and witness the full range of creativity of Studio 360’s listeners—including a melancholy loon accompanied by banjo, a dancefloor workout bubbling with the likes of Ruffed Grouse, Wood Thrushes, and Canyon Wrens, and a tension-filled piece that sets a Common Loon and a Winter Wren against a choir to arrive at something you might hear on a Bourne Identity soundtrack. Listen for yourself.

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library