Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bird songs and calls

Marsh WrenSinging Marsh Wren, Forest Grove, Oregon 2 June 2011 by Greg Gillson.


Listen. Do you hear it?

No, because this is a photo without sound. But I hear it in my mind.

Here's a link to a sample song of Marsh Wren.

O, what a quiet world this would be without birds! Well, quiet except for human-made sounds. When we think of the sounds of nature, we usually include the calls of birds.

Many birders have trouble identifying bird songs and calls. No wonder; it takes just as much (or more) work than learning to identify birds by sight. And there isn't a workable "field guide" to bird songs and calls.

However, Nathan Pieplow, on the EarBirding blog, wrote this brief guide to
describing what you hear. He writes "How to identify bird sounds in six easy steps." Great stuff.

This gives a framework for describing bird sounds. Even playing a recording of a bird song doesn't help you remember it, if you can't describe it to yourself--if you can't hear it in your own mind when the bird is no longer singing.

Michele, at Northwest Nature Nut recently recorded 50 seconds of audio at the Ridgefield wildlife refuge, in her post:Ridgefield bird songs of May. How many different bird songs and calls can you pick out? I heard 11 species and in the post's comment field recorded the first time I heard each species and the second count of the recording when it calls, so you can compare. Try it!