Beatboxing birdsongs of New York

SUMMARY: In these fascinating videos, we see how one man’s quest to merge two passions — bird watching and beatbox music – has created an experimental new form of music

Ben Mirin, birder and professional beatboxer.

Ben Mirin, birder and professional beatboxer.

I love beatboxing, but as an ornithologist and birder, I am absolutely delighted by this amazing experiment that a fellow New Yorker, Ben Mirin, is working on: he is using birdsong produced by birds that can be found in New York state as the inspiration for his beatboxing.

Mr Mirin is a professional beatboxer, freelance writer and videographer who combined his two passions — beatboxing and birding. Born in Boston, he relocated to New York City in 2013. At that time, he began composing music using local bird songs and his own voice to merge his two interests into a single idea.

“The result was a union of two musical languages whose sounds carry meanings and messages beyond the flow of a melody or the rhythm of a beat”, writes Mr Mirin on his blog, Wingbeat.

Recently, Mr Mirin has expanded his beatboxing to encompass his other passion; conservation. To do that, he is exploring how to incorporate other animal sounds into his musical compositions.

Want to hear more beatbox birdsongs? This fun video, which features birdsongs that can only be heard in wetland habitats, was created by Mr Mirin especially to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2015:

The birdsong samples were created from field recordings courtesy of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Ben Mirin writes the blog, Wingbeat, and, appropriately enough, you can also find him on Twitter @BenMirin and on a flock of other social media.

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This piece has been edited and reformatted from the original.

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Grrlscientist can be found on on her eponymous Guardian blog, and she’s quite active on twitter: @GrrlScientist. She sometimes lurks on social media; facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Pinterest.


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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