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vocalization

Singing Sandpipers

We've all seen sandpipers foraging busily on mudflats or at the ocean's edge. But this Lesser Yellowlegs often carols from the top of a tall conifer in its nesting territory in Alaska. The name "sandpiper" actually comes from the voices of these birds, rather than from their long-billed probing... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet Tunes Up

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of the smallest songbirds on the continent, weighing in at just a little more than half a chickadee. Mostly green and hard to spot, it hovers in mid-air as it catches tiny insects. In early spring, the kinglet's rollicking song echoes from the forest edge in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Common Potoo with Nancy Rumbel

The Common Potoo is a nocturnal bird of Central and South America, known for its camouflage plumage and upright perching. Nancy Rumbel, who composed the theme music for BirdNote, improvises here with the call of the Common Potoo. Using the pentatonic scale of the potoo, Nancy responds with her... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

Message of the Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove was named for the male's gentle voice, which may sound forlorn. Mourning Doves are common in suburban environments and along roadsides, adapting well to human habitation. On a warm, lazy, summer afternoon, the dove's voice seems to speak more of serenity than sadness, and of a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Saw-whet Owls Hoot and Hoot

Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in forests across southern Canada and the northern U.S. In early autumn, many move southward, making a large concentration especially in the region of the Great Lakes. To our ear, the "advertising call" of the male, made mostly in spring and summer, sounds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

A New Year Dawns

Listen to the earth awaken, as dawn circles the globe. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton recorded these sounds around the globe. He's with SoundTracker. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bird Sounds Transport Us Back

Bird calls can transport us to times deep in our memory. Is the sound of the Whip-poor-will at dusk part of your memory? Maybe you heard Common Loons calling on a northern lake. Perhaps you awoke on a summer morning to the cooing of a Mourning Dove. Use the link below to discover how your bird is... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Ode to a Nightingale

The Common Nightingale is a shy and plain-looking bird, but its song is lovely. In Ode to a Nightingale, the English poet John Keats wrote: "Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; ..." You can learn more about the nightingale from the Royal Society for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  language, vocalization

Song of the Kauai O'o

The sweet, bell-like tones of the Kauai O'o were heard for the last time nearly 20 years ago. The native birds of the Hawaiian Islands, like birds of many island groups, have been hard hit by changes wrought by humans. At least 90% of the bird species driven to extinction in recorded history have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, sound, vocalization

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