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vocalization

The Mockingbird - A Virtuoso of Variety

This aptly named Northern Mockingbird might imitate, in succession, birds as different as a bobwhite quail, a chat, a sandpiper — even a cardinal — then cap it off with the meow of a cat and a few phrases of car alarm. In spring, a male mockingbird sings all day, with hundreds of variations ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, species account, vocalization

Comparing Chickadee Calls

In the Pacific Northwest, you might see both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees at your birdfeeder. The Chestnut-back (seen here) sounds different from the Black-capped Chickadee. The call of the Black-capped follows the familiar “Chick-a-dee, dee, dee” pattern. But the call of the... read more »

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Winter Wren in a Carolina Cathedral, With Gordon Hempton

Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, records the sounds of nature in pristine places. Mesmerized by a Winter Wren singing in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest of the Carolinas, Gordon chased the bird up and down a mountain before capturing its song at close range. But when he listened to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Voices and Vocabularies - Exquisite Thrush Songs

Some believe the song of the Wood Thrush to be the most beautiful bird song in North America. Others select the song of the Hermit Thrush. Still others name the singing of the Swainson’s Thrush. How do thrushes like this Veery create such fine music? The answer is that the birds have a double... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science, sound, vocalization

Voices and Vocabularies - Robin's Evening Song

During the day, an American Robin, a member of the thrush family, sings a lovely, familiar song of rich phrases. But as the sun begins to set, robin song takes on a different character. From sunset until dark, a robin adds ethereal whispered notes to its carol, creating a song of remarkable grace... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

American Robins Are Exceptional Singers

As singers go, American Robins are exceptional. They’re often the first birds to sing in the morning, and the last you’ll hear in the evening. While their average song strings fewer than a dozen short phrases together and lasts only a few seconds, robins sometimes sing for minutes without a pause... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

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

Laysan Albatrosses Nest at Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll is the winter home of nearly a million nesting albatrosses. Laysan Albatrosses return to Midway in November to breed. Roughly 450,000 pairs wedge their way into a scant 2½ square miles of land surface. And why do Laysans nest in winter? Well, the big birds forage mostly at night, so... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting, vocalization

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