Identifying Birds - Bird Songs And Birdcalls

Discussion in 'Pets & Critters' started by Diane Lane, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I love listening to the birdcalls outside my window and when I'm walking through the woods, but I am just learning to distinguish them from one another. I'm going to post some informational sources to help myself and others identify the sounds they hear and birds they see, but I'd also love to know which birds y'all have near you, and feel free to post pictures or video clips if you have any.

    Here's a Mnemonic of bird calls/songs, and I think I just identified one from it, although I still have to verify by finding a picture of the bird.

    The bird I thought I heard just a bit ago was an American Coot, and based on what I've just read and the area in which I live, that could be the case, although I don't recall seeing one nearby.

    Here's another site that is very useful in identifying birds, both by sight and also by sound. It's The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I follow them on social media, and also receive emails with interesting information from them.

    This site allows you to identify birds by sound once you've identified the species.

    If you like to use apps, there are several that can be used to help with bird identification.

    Here are some helpful apps:

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/06/twigle-birds-a-free-app-for-identifying-birds-by-look-and-sound/

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.luminousapps.northamericanbirdssounds&hl=en

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.audubon.mobile.android&hl=en

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.cornell.birds.ebird&hl=en

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.luminousapps.ukbirdssounds&hl=en

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.birdbrook.worldbirdguide&hl=en

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/merlin-bird-id-by-cornell/id773457673?mt=8

    Here's an article about 7 iPhone Birding apps: http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/05/27/boucher-bird-blog-apps-smart-birder/
     
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  2. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    There are some birds that throw a spanner into the works. Starlings are notoriously good mimics. I remember walking along my street in Edinburgh and hearing the chirp of a house sparrow. A common enough bird, but I was surprised as I'd never seen any house sparrows in the area. Closer inspection revealed that the chirper was, in fact, a starling.

    Where I live now, on the coast, some of our starlings have managed to imitate the bubbling call of curlews.
     
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  3. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Can anyone Identify this one?

    I just went through the mneumonics in post #1 and have gone through probably all the links in the past. Still have never been able to identify. I think it's a common bird, and must be very territorial, because there are only ever at most 2, usually only 1.

    The pattern sounds to me like an old fashioned telephone calling pattern---two shorts and a long---repeated twice, monotone, but maybe it just seems like the final tone lasts a little longer.

    Occasionally the bird does just one-half of the pair. It often goes on all day long, continuously, from apparently the same bird. [​IMG] ...From this afternoon...

     
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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  4. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    When My Sugar Walks Down the Street (All the Little Birdies Go Tweet-Tweet-Tweet)
     
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  5. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    I think I should have been looking for the bird's tone and not the pattern all along. Now leaning toward the tufted titmouse. . Very common in the SE, very territorial.

    If you listen carefully to the original video above, there is a low chattering going on in the background at a couple of places. I assumed it was a different bird, but it may be the same one, or a mate.

    In this video, the bird starts with the chattering to a mate, and then shifts to the tone around 1:20. The tone is a good match.



    The pattern (3,3) has been going on for at least 10-15 years here, and no small bird lives that long. I'll bet you these birds have learned that pattern from their parents, and carried it down through generations. Possible?

    Another video (audio)

     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I remember reading how birds learn their song. There is a kind of template in their ears, that receive the song, and as they repeat and hear them in that loop, over and over, they gradually perfect the elements of their song, ending up with the perfect duplicate. The Mocking bird is incredible, as some learn up to 500 songs. They have been known to copy chainsaws and other "man made" noises.
     
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  7. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    The Australian Lyre Bird imitating a chainsaw, and other things

     
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  8. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Veteran Member
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    I used to listen to bird calls, tried to mimic some, never any good. Tried photographing birds, lens too small. Now my hearing has gone bad, vision bad, like Joe's avatar, one eye gone. Thought I saw an orange rag blown up by the wind hung in a nearby tree. Got my field glasses, a bird I'd never seen before. An orange shouldered hawk.
    You see him your own self? He may be a Texas hawk or from around all over. Never saw one before.
     
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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    How birds learn their songs

    "A British ornithologist went to live in Assam in north-eastern India to study the bird's vocalisations and in particular their origin. He found that the entire repertoire is learnt by ear from its elders by each season's crop of youngsters.

    "If the only companion a young caged mynah has is you or me, then it is you or me he is going to copy, hence the “talking” mynah. If, however, he is in a natural state then he copies his own kind and normally no others. Wild mynahs copy none but their kin. But since there are many others he could copy how does the bird choose?"

    "The suggestion is that each learning species has an innate predisposition to attend only to the language of its own species; it employs a “neural template”.
     
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  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    We have a regular group of crows that visit from time to time, usually in a group of three. I usually imitate their three rapid fire "CAWs", while bobbing my head and neck three times. (like they do). Other times I will sound off with two Loud Claps, imitating a shotgun. (I wish).
    [​IMG]
    NOTE:
    "Finding two crows, however, means good luck. (Three crows mean health, and four crows mean wealth.) Yet spotting five crows means sickness is coming, and witnessing six crows means death is nearby."
     
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    @Bill Boggs ...You mentioned photographing hawks, well we see the red-tailed hawks around. They usually hunt in pairs, even 2 or three pairs are not uncommon. There is always a single one, who sits in the tree overlooking the fields, and just when I get the camera, focus to the max, while keeping super-steady....it up and leaves. I snapped this one a week ago.
    013.JPG
     
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  12. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Here hawks often perch on fence posts alongside the roads. I saw one catch a rat out of a ditch one time while I was driving by. I've seen a few piles of white chicken feathers just below a fence post out in the country, where a hawk stopped to strip the feathers. In town they perch on the practice football field lights. ;)

    the osprey is a close relative of the hawk. I saw one dive completely under the water at the lake one time. Thought it was a hawk at the time. I found a video to show they do, do it.

     
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  13. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    Mocking birds around here used to copy the sound of goat kids. It would drive my spouse nuts trying to find the lost kid.
     
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  14. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    We don't have crows here, but the ravens have been known to guide hunters to game animals. They have learned that a hunter's harvest yields a gut pile that is a feast for the ravens.
     
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  15. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I mistakenly named mockingbirds. It was magpies who were the imitators here.
     
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