Vedøya dawn chorus, 17th of May 2021

What does it sound like when one of Northern Europes most epic and famous bird mountains loses its voice?

To all of our discontent and shock; Vedøya (Røst) became silent in the summer of 2020,

I recently composed the first verse or episodes you could say, in a series of sound works lamenting the loss of Vedøya as a sea bird mountain.

The work wishes to speak to Vedøyas origins and life until this day, from a variety of voices.

The work’s narrative is based on a script I have been writing using many years of research into archives, my own deepening friendship with – and getting to know the island as well as conversations with local people and neighbors, bird scientists, and ornithologists who have been working on Vedøya throughout time.

I am sharing with you the newly translated script. The translation was done by the poet and writer Annabelle Despard.


////o v o////


I’m lying here resting

with my mountain sisters


the sun warms me

the winds and rain



lichen and moss-skin

protect us


we listen to


the waves


clumps of seaweed

on the shore

are stirred

by cycles


below us

we feel

the power


the origin of Utrøstryggen


we are the elders

born in the world’s infancy

yet still rising

through millennia

under heavy massed ice

the ice


the winds

the water

the currents


shaping and honing


landslides at times

shapes changing

new spaces made


cliff faces

are open invitations


I call them my winged. children

one springwinter they came flying

in over the hills

different voices








long gone


every spring

we are woken

and we no longer crave for company

in the long summer nights



are laid

lain on









then they fly off

in August

in twilight days


It’s light tonight

but all I want is to sleep

everything is changed

I don’t know where I am


the screeching

the blare

the sheen of the silver mantel


a pair of ravens

are searching in vain

for life

their shrieks echo in Visheller´n




One springwinter long long ago

our forebirds came flying


Our time is old

it is hard to say when we came

but we remember

an ancient mineral giant

born from Utrøstryggens

300 million years


Were you expecting company?


we found rocky ledges

for white and turquoise eggs

rock nests

and hollows

such lovely song

in the steep rock face



I look at you

from different angles


try to store

your outline



in me


with the wind

the weather

kinds of light


you are stoical today

seen from the north

I cannot see the sea

between you and Røst

you rise straight up out of the ground

a support


here we stand

glaring at each other



Today I came back to Vedøya

I walked up the sheep track along Bunes Bay

to the old Swiss hut for bird research


Two people

sitting on the step

tying their shoelaces

ready to investigate the auk

It is the summer of 1965


shouting and children’s laughter

sheep and lambs bleating

coffeepots rattling

a pipe is lit


But where are the kittiwakes?


Nothing is as it was

we get used to the land

all over again

but everything feels strange

the choir no longer sings in unison

few or nobody

is at home

as they were

not very long ago


one auk

or a single


dives off the cliff face

lonely arrows

vibrating in the air


In the light time

the wren sings

her solo


Birds are at home

floating weightlessly

strangely eternal

if only the sea was not so empty

birds, sheep, people, guano

plants proliferating

under the mountain’s towering





hunting island

gathering fodder

summer pastures


Photo by EMØV

Archival image, Vedøya, 1.6.1963 by Paul Andreas Røstad