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Songs and Calls - They're Not the Same

A whole vocabulary for listening to birds!

To our ear, the haunting song of this Hermit Thrush is musical, even ethereal. To another Hermit Thrush, the song signals that a male is laying claim to a territory and seeking a mate. These thrushes, like other songbirds, broadcast a variety of calls. Call notes can signal many things – alarm at a predator or aggression toward a rival. Or they may simply maintain contact between members of a pair or flock. So the next time you hear a bird sing or call, listen carefully. You may be introduced to a whole new vocabulary.
What birds are singing and calling around your home? Let us know on Facebook.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote® 

Songs and Calls

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Hermit Thrush song]

To our ear, the haunting song of the Hermit Thrush is musical, even ethereal. [Hermit Thrush song] To another Hermit Thrush, the song signals a male is laying claim to a territory and seeking a mate.

Spend time around Hermit Thrushes in a mountain forest in summer, and you’re also likely to hear them make other sounds, such as  [‘chuck’ call notes] or [upslurred whine call]. Hermit Thrushes, like other songbirds, broadcast a variety of calls.

Call notes can signal many things – alarm at a predator [omitted call -- too high to be heard on radio] or aggression toward a rival. Or they may simply maintain contact between members of a pair or flock. [Repeat call notes]

Black-capped Chickadees sing a plaintive, whistled song [‘feeebee, feeebee’ song], and make a call that gives the bird its name [‘chickadee, chickadeedeedee’]. The chick-a-dee call serves different purposes in different contexts and is but one of a dozen in the bird’s repertoire [mobbing call].

American Goldfinch males sing a bright, bubbly song [American Goldfinch song] and nearly always call in flight with a sweet, four-syllable [American Goldfinch ‘perchicoree’].
Like to tell us what birds are singing and calling around your home? Find us at birdnote.org. I’m Michael Stein.

                                                                               ###

Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of Hermit Thrush 111136 recorded by T.G. Sander; call of Hermit Thrush 107506 by W.L. Hershberger; call of Hermit Thrush 51142 by Kevin Colver;  call of Black-capped Chickadee recorded by R.S. Little; mobbing call of Black-capped Chickadee 107803 by S.R. Pantle; song of American Goldfinch 105487 by G.A.Keller; flight call of male American Goldfinch 94457 by W.L. Hershberger.
Song of Black-capped Chickadee recorded by Martyn Stewart of naturesound.com
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and produced by John Kessler
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org          June 2018     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#             song-07-2012-06-01

Sights & Sounds

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