[CT Birds] Anyone watching the Masters?

jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net
Sat Apr 7 21:11:59 EDT 2012

I save some wacky stories that I read through the years.  These are from the
fall of 2000.  Never trust the background bird vocalizations you hear on TV
as being from birds at the course.


CBS admits to bird-brained scheme
By Garry Smits
FloridaTimes-Union sports writer
It's a beautiful day on the golf course, the sun is shining and birds are
Well, as CBS has been forced to admit, two out of three isn't bad. 
The network came clean earlier this week and confessed that it has been
mixing in taped sounds of birds singing with live golf telecasts, most
recently at the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational two weeks ago in
Akron, Ohio. 
Not only that, but according to bird-call experts asked by the New York Post
to watch and listen to videotape of CBS broadcasts, the network isn't even
getting the birds in the correct geographic area. 
The Post reported that the taped bird calls were used by CBS during the
playing of the NEC Invitational, the PGA Championship in Louisville, Ky.,
and the Buick Open in Warwick Hills, Mich. CBS spokeswoman Leslie Ann Wade
said the bird calls were used to get "ambient sound" for broadcasts, and
were only a last resort. 
The first resort: putting dishes of birdfeed near microphones at tournament
sites. Wade said when that doesn't produce the desired sounds of nature,
they go to the tape. 
Bird-watchers interviewed by the Post said the worst part is that someone at
CBS didn't research which birds were indigenous to Ohio, Kentucky and
Michigan. One, John Malcolm of Gaithersburg, Md., said he heard a canyon
wren, which lives only west of Texas, on a Buick Open tape; and a
white-throated sparrow, found only in the North during the summer, on tapes
from the PGA and NEC Invitational. 
"Why not just dub in harp music for certain crucial holes," Malcolm said.
"It's deceitful." 
PGA Tour officials didn't view Birdgate as a serious issue. 
"TV puts sensative mikes all over the course to catch birds, leaves rustling
. . . things to convey to the viewers the sounds of a golf course,'' said
Bob Combs, senior vice-president for public relations and communications.
''That's really on a subconscious level, and the action is what's carrying
the day. CBS did a fine job with those three telecasts, with all those
birdies . . . of every kind."

CBS ruffles some feathers with misplaced bird calls Last Updated: Sept. 8,
2000 My favorite story this week from the world of television sports is for
the birds.
Informed and sharp-eared ornithologists - are there any other kind? -
discovered that ambient bird sounds on a few CBS-TV golf telecasts could not
have come from real birds, because those birds did not inhabit the places
where the tournaments were played.
The birders blew the whistle to the New York Post, which ran a story about
the canned bird sounds on a few telecasts. CBS admitted that it used taped
bird sounds to create ambient noise for its golf telecasts.
A canyon wren, for example, a bird that does not live east of Texas, was
heard by bird detectives on the telecast of the Buick Open in early August
at Grand Blanc, Mich., according to the Post.
Ah, and the dulcet tones of the white-throated sparrow, no bird of summer,
was chirping away at the PGA Championship the next week in Louisville. Our
sparrow friend was heard again at the NEC Invitational the last weekend in
August at Akron, Ohio, even though that bird does not get to Ohio, even for
A spokeswoman for CBS said the crew put out birdseed near microphones in
order get a species of bird in that setting to give up a few chirps at
tournament sites. If that doesn't work, to the taped bird sounds they turn.
This presents a whole host of issues, some so chilling it makes your blood
run cold.
At the very least, there should be the introduction of a new Sports Emmy
category: Distinguished Achievement in Special Effects Sound in Golf
Jim Nantz could reprise Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom," or at least turn
in a brief stint on Animal Planet.
Or perhaps they might want to go for a hunting motif.
Gary McCord could do an updated version of "American Sportsman," stalking
the wily canyon wren at driving ranges in west Texas armed with nothing
other than a lob wedge.
And if the bird sounds are fake, well, what else is fake?
Are all those magnolias at the Masters real or merely computer enhancements?
Is Tiger Woods a real golfer or the creation of some "Wag the Dog" mass
manipulator looking for ratings?
Golf telecasts have at times been accused of not letting viewers know what's
on tape and what's live. This occasion of feathered fakery raises another
fundamentally more troubling possibility, that in recent years golf's majors
might have all been played at a Hollywood sound stage.

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org
[mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of Joseph Budrow
Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2012 8:20 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org; Kfinnan at aol.com
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Anyone watching the Masters?

I've been birding by ear for years while watching the masters. Sometimes I
wonder, tho, if its sometimes a recorded feed. Wood thrushes, veerys,
carolina wrens and cardinals are big stars during the Masters.


--- On Sat, 4/7/12, Kfinnan at aol.com <Kfinnan at aol.com> wrote:

From: Kfinnan at aol.com <Kfinnan at aol.com>
Subject: [CT Birds] Anyone watching the Masters?
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2012, 7:28 PM

I know it sounds off-subject, at first.  However, for me, this  week's
Masters golf tournament and another one, next week, in Hilton  Head, SC, now
known as the RBC Heritage Classic, are the best for hearing bird  songs live
on TV.  I was just wondering if anyone else is taking  note.  To make it
more interesting, there seems to be a certain  Mockingbird with an excellent
Kevin Finnan
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