This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium program.

Beavers in the city, their vocalizations and human noise

Abby Lee Tee

Saturday 25 November — Presentations

11.30 — 12.00

documentation of the lecture

Beavers are fascinating ecosystem engineers – a keystone species being highly beneficial to numerous endangered animals, wetland rehabilitation, drought- and food-prevention and even vegetation, despite mostly just known for felling trees (in autumn & winter). After being extinct for more than a century beavers got reintroduced to austria and other parts of europe in the 1970ies and made their way to Linz in the 90ies. Beside being present in the city-surrounding marshlands of course, they are also living along huge rivers like the Danube and near the center of the city, proving high resilience and adaptability. Just few people know about or experience their highly social family life and especially their (widely unexplored) vocalizations, being my main occupation researching them the last 3 years (plus mapping their territories in many diferent areas). But living in urbanized areas generates numerous challenges for them too, with humans destroying their infrastructure or trying to displace them (illegally most of the time), hundreds of dogs passing by each day as well as they are facing constant sonic disturbance living not far from highways on the shore of a large river with numerous big ships passing by – having a huge impact on a mammal mostly communicating and being guided by scent and sound, as well as building its own infrastructure constantly being hit by high waves.

I’m proposing a lecture about beavers living in urban areas, my ongoing (artistic) research on their vocalizations, their sonic experiences inside their lodge, the wide variety of influences of human noise along big rivers (below and above the water) my experiences with long-term-recording the same individuals and field recording ethics.


Alongside his work in numerous collaborations and bands, austrian musician Abby Lee Tee (FABIAN HOLZINGER) has been releasing a steady stream of constantly-evolving solo material since 2009, nurturing a passion for field recordings and unusual instruments. His fascination for the divisions and crossovers between noise and music, as well as nature and culture, can be seen in his work with installations, soundwalks, sound design for theatre and audiovisual projects, as well as records on labels such as Shash, Czaszka, Never Anything, Vertical Music, Falt, Tsss Tapes, Dinzu Artefacts and Accidental. Since 2020, he’s researching beavers and their vocalizations, winning the “Sound of the Year” award in the category “Best Naturally Occurring Sound” as well as the “Boughton Fieldcraft” award by the Wildlife Sound Recording Society.

Abby Lee Tee: Beavers in the city, their vocalizations and human noise