Bird Calls and Songs are among the most common reminders that nature is all around us. Even in the deepest cities many birds are our close neighbors. Other birds are very reclusive, and will only be heard, but rarely seen, in the deepest of forests as we hike along the trails. Still others will be heard calling out while soaring at great heights above our heads – but we can still identify them by their unique sounds and by their underwing patterns.
Song #1 – Press Here. Be patient, sometimes these audio files take a while to load. Try to match this song to the birds in this list:
1. Northern Cardinal 6. Northern Flicker
2. American Bittern 7. American Robin
3. Carolina Wren 8. House Sparrow
4. Eastern Bluebird 9. Red Tailed Hawk
5. Hermit Thrush 10. Mourning Dove
Birds often have several vocalizations, usually categorized (by man) into songs and calls. The distinction between songs and calls is based upon complexity, length, and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact. The distinction may also be based on function, so that short vocalizations, like those of pigeons, and even non-vocal sounds, such as the drumming of woodpeckers are, can be considered songs.
Song #2 – Press Here
American Robin - flickr by bravedeer
Hermit Thrush - flickr by visionshare
All bird songs and calls function as commutations between members of the same species and with other species. The functions of the songs and calls are to attract mates, to establish and hold territory, express alarms, to recruit individuals (mobbing) in an area where an owl or other predator may be present, to identify each other and find their chicks (colony nesters), and many other specific functions. Most songs are sung by male rather than female birds, and are usually delivered from prominent perches, although some species may sing when flying. Some groups are nearly voiceless, producing only percussive and rhythmic sounds, such as the storks, which clatter their bills or by other mechanical means.
Carolina Wren - flickr by palomino595
American Bittern - flickr by Dave 2X
Red Tailed Hawk - source: wikipedia
Northern Flicker - flickr by lamoustique
House Sparrow - sparrowdove.com CC-BY-SA
Northern Cardinal - flicka by searchnetmedia
Mourning Dove - source: wikipedia
Here are the rest of the songs. Match them to the list of birds above. Good luck. The answers are at the bottom.
Song #3 – Press Here
Song #4 – Press Here
Note: Some birds don’t really sound like birds at all, like in this next one which sounds more like a old water pump.
Song #5 – Press Here
Note: Birds have a dual trachea, enabling some to sing two notes at the same time. This can produce an eerie, haunting sound as in the next bird.
Song #6 – Press Here
Song #7 – Press Here
Song #8 – Press Here
Song #9 – Press Here
Song #10 – Press Here
Some birds are excellent mimics, although the advantages of this habit is not well agreed upon. Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, and Catbirds are common in the America. Mockingbirds usually repeat phrases (of other bird’s songs) 3 to 6 times. Catbirds usually repeat twice, and often throw in their alarm call “Meow”. Thrashers normally repeat each phrase only once.
But perhaps the most accomplished mimic is the Australian Lyrebird. This guy is almost unbelievable! See the next post: The Unbelievable LyreBird. You’ll be glad you did. It’s unforgettable.
Here are the answers to the quiz. Hope you did well.
1. Northern Cardinal..Song #4
2. American Bittern………..#5
3. Carolina Wren…………..#9
4. Eastern Bluebird………..#2
5. Hermit Thrush…………..#6
6. Northern Flicker………..#7
7. American Robin………..#10
8. House Sparrow…………#3
9. Red Tailed Hawk……….#8
10. Mourning Dove………..#1
If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.