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birdwatching by ear

Tweets 'n' Squawks: Learn How to Identify Birds by Song

Nothing signals spring quite like singing birds. As the length of days increase, male birds begin to sing to protect their territories from neighboring males and advertise their presence to nearby females. In spring, those males are vibrantly colored and may be easy to see, because they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

Bird Sound Types and Qualities Part I

Since it’s often hard to see a bird, veteran birders characterize the sounds of birds in order to identify them. So what words do they use? Well, they use “whistle,” for example, to describe the sound of this Olive-sided Flycatcher. And "rattle" for that of the Belted Kingfisher. There's the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Which Chickadee - Black-capped or Carolina?

Of all the birds that turn up at birdfeeders, chickadees are favorites. And they’re instantly recognizable. Yet sometimes we have to ask ourselves: “Which chickadee is it?” In the eastern and central states, there are two species: Black-capped Chickadees pervade the northern half of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Recording Cerulean Warblers with Charlotte Goedsche

Since 1998, Charlotte Goedsche has been studying the Cerulean Warblers that breed in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. And she has learned some fascinating things! For example, Charlotte can identify individual Cerulean Warbler males like this one, by listening to their songs. She... read more »

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Listening for Bird Song - Featuring Gordon Hempton

We may be more indebted to birds than we know. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton explains: “I was curious about the human range of sound . . . it’s a perfect match for bird song,” he says. “. . . If we hear bird song, then we’re also listening to an area that has food, water, and an extended... read more »

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Night Voices - Nightjars

As darkness descends on a May evening, the voices of many birds go quiet. But for some birds, especially those known as nightjars, the music is just beginning! An Eastern Whip-poor-will shouts out its name. The call of a Common Poorwill echoes across a canyon. A Common Pauraque calls from the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear

Voices and Vocabularies - How Birds Sing So Loudly

When a Carolina Wren like this one sings, something remarkable happens. These birds can sing so loudly that you almost have to shout to be heard over their songs!How can a bird like a Carolina Wren – at just 5½ inches long and weighing only as much as four nickels – produce so much sound? The... read more »

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Voices and Vocabularies - Cardinals' Duet

Among most North American songbirds, it’s males alone who sing. But during the nesting season, we also hear female cardinals. Just when she sings and whether or not she matches his song may determine when the male brings food to the nest. Help BirdNote educate and inspire more people! Make a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, vocalization

Voices and Vocabularies - Songs Suit Surroundings

When a Canyon Wren sings, the brilliance of its sweet music can stop you in your tracks. But when its cousin, the Marsh Wren (seen here), sings, you may reach for your earplugs. Why do two closely related birds sing such contrasting songs? In the wren’s world, where song is essential to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, vocalization

Voices and Vocabularies - Three Hidden Sparrows

Some birds have a remarkable knack for staying out of sight. Often we don’t know they’re nearby, until they sing. But with a little practice, we can learn to identify birds without seeing them. Listen to the songs of the Song Sparrow, the Chipping Sparrow, and the White-throated Sparrow — like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

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