Loudly sing, cuckoo! Bird song, resonance and an aesthetics of seasonality
Andrew Whitehouse (University of Aberdeen)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the relations between seasonality and bird song, primarily within a British context. More broadly it is an investigation of how seasons and times are sensed and experienced, and how people idealise and aestheticise these experiences.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the relations between seasonality and bird song, primarily within a British context but with comparative discussion from elsewhere. More broadly it is an investigation of how seasons and times are sensed and experienced, and how people idealise and aestheticise these experiences. It forms part of a larger concern with how landscape is experienced through relations with animals, in this case how that experience is focussed and made meaningful through attending to bird sounds. Research during the Listening to Birds project garnered an array of stories and accounts of how people experienced the sounds of birds. Many of these narratives made associations between sounds, seasons and times. Seasons were, for example, often 'brought' by the sound of a particular bird. Respondents also described a desire for their own activities to resonate with the singing of birds. From these narratives certain aesthetic ideas emerge about how seasons and times should be experienced, as well as questions about what seasons and times of the day really are and whether the increasing dissonance between human activities and those of birds is a cause for alarm. These questions can be linked to wider environmentalist concerns with a 'silent spring' and the loss of seasonal heralds such as the cuckoo.
Exploring aesthetic experiences and practices