“The natural world is silent.” The only Polish woman on the prestigious list about why it is worth stopping and listening
Photo: Private archive of Izabela Dłużyk
– To hear a sound, we have to stop for a moment and switch off from other stimuli – says Izabela Dłużyk, a sound documentarian, author of a doctoral thesis on the voices of birds and popularizer of knowledge about the natural world, recognized by the BBC as one of the 100 most inspiring and influential women in the world. In an interview for tvn24.pl, he talks about the benefits of listening to nature, interpreting the sounds of nature and what not to do so that learning about nature does not turn into grotesque.
He devotes almost every free moment to listening and recording the sounds of nature. Izabela Dłużyk is a sound documentarian who accurately recognizes animal species by their voices. A resident of Gdańsk, a graduate of English and Russian philology at the University of Gdańsk, she devoted her doctoral thesis to the voices of birds. She defended it in November. In the same month, she was the only Pole to be included on the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring and influential women for 2023, alongside figures such as a lawyer and former first lady. USA Michelle Obama, a lawyer fighting for human rights Amal Clooney or Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí.
Her passion for listening to nature developed after she received an encyclopedia on CD as a 10-year-old girl. There were several short recordings of bird calls on it. Poor quality, but it was enough to arouse curiosity that continues to this day. Initially, she recorded birds’ voices with a voice recorder and a computer microphone, but only after graduating was she able to afford professional recording equipment.
We publish one of her recordings below.
Maciej Wacławik: What animal voices do you remember most from your childhood?
Izabela Dłużyk: From the very beginning, I was interested in basically everything, but even before I became really fascinated with birds, during my childhood holidays, I probably noticed the singing of the little bird – a delicate, soft sequence of sounds from higher to lower, which sounds very atmospheric in the forest. I really liked listening to the grasshoppers. I also remember being very impressed by a large chorus of frogs that I accidentally came across in the forest – I didn’t recognize amphibians yet, but it was beautiful…
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