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Old 04-25-2018, 08:09 AM
 
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This morning I heard some birds that I usually hear during this time of year (spring in south Texas). I noticed the way it was calling was like a friend telling another friend, Let's go! Where the second syllable goes down in pitch. Or like a kid telling his mom he's ready to go swimming.

I wonder if this is what the birds are saying to each other. One bird is always ready before the other one and has to wait a little longer to go out on their adventure/flight.

What do you think?
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
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I think that is a very sweet post. Thank you.

Yes, their discussions are a delight to listen to....when I put out seed for the day, automatically I hear lots of twitters and calls from close birds saying...

She's filling feeders.....lunch is ready!
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Old 04-26-2018, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Germany
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Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
I think that is a very sweet post. Thank you.

Yes, their discussions are a delight to listen to....when I put out seed for the day, automatically I hear lots of twitters and calls from close birds saying...

She's filling feeders.....lunch is ready!
I think our local sparrow hawk thinks the same, but for a different reason.
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Old 04-26-2018, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
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Originally Posted by Harry Diogenes View Post
I think our local sparrow hawk thinks the same, but for a different reason.

Yes, lunch time for hawks too....but wish they'd eat a rodent instead of my little birdies.
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:51 PM
 
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It always surprised me whenever I would watch people speaking to animals and the animals seemed to understand them. There is a universal language which is about speech tone and pitch, which transcends human languages. I think it's amazing, but I guess a lot of people understand this already, and they are able to speak in this natural way. I guess that actors can do this too.
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Old 04-27-2018, 02:45 PM
 
Location: on the wind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzyRules View Post
This morning I heard some birds that I usually hear during this time of year (spring in south Texas). I noticed the way it was calling was like a friend telling another friend, Let's go! Where the second syllable goes down in pitch. Or like a kid telling his mom he's ready to go swimming.

I wonder if this is what the birds are saying to each other. One bird is always ready before the other one and has to wait a little longer to go out on their adventure/flight.

What do you think?
One of the natural sounds that chokes me up every time is goose music....flocks of geese yammering to each other as they get ready to pack their bags and fly somewhere else. Gets my blood going and I can't decide whether to shout goodbye or to grab the car keys in order to join them.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by OzzyRules View Post

I wonder if this is what the birds are saying to each other. One bird is always ready before the other one and has to wait a little longer to go out on their adventure/flight.

What do you think?
Great question! I hope I'm not being that guy but I love birding and have a special fondness for listening to bird song in the field, so here goes:


The function of bird song is twofold, to establish territory and to attract mates. Typically, males will sing to advertise their readiness to mate and to let other males know that the territory is theirs (more like "move along" than "let's go".) An interesting and extreme case of this is the mockingbird, a mockingbird mimics a variety of other birds in the area to attempt to exclude not only male mockingbirds, but also to exclude males of other species to cut down on competition (mockingbirds, as most people know, are extremely territorial). The function of song in mockingbirds, similarly, is to attract mates, and females typically choose males who have the widest variety of songs.

In some species, both males and females sing. A classic example is the cardinal. During breeding season, a really neat observation that can be done in the field is to listen for 'countersinging', where the male and the female will sing the same songs back and forth. The female is typically the better songster in this case. This also has a territorial purpose, and two territorial males will also countersing. I once heard a very angry and territorial cardinal countersing with a tufted titmouse. The cardinal was not mimicking the titmouse, but was countering its rhythmic cadence. Really interesting.

Call notes, on the other hand, have a wider variety of functions. Lots of times there are call notes that are alarm or warning (chip) notes that are accompanied by displays. One good example of this is that some birds will pump their tails while firing off chip notes (again the cardinal comes to mind). During winter, a variety of birds form mixed winter flocks in forested areas, including kinglets, nuthatches, woodpeckers, etc. Chickadees and titmice are also part of the flock, and both act as 'nuclear' species to the flock, because the other birds will follow the contact and warning calls of the chickadees and titmice. This is the origin of the "pishing" that some birders will do when they want a bird to pop up out of a bush when it's hunkered down. The pish sound is the warning call of a tufted titmouse, and many other birds will respond to it.

Last edited by NJmmadude; 05-03-2018 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,091 posts, read 6,921,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJmmadude View Post
Great question! I hope I'm not being that guy but I love birding and have a special fondness for listening to bird song in the field, so here goes:


The function of bird song is twofold, to establish territory and to attract mates. Typically, males will sing to advertise their readiness to mate and to let other males know that the territory is theirs (more like "move along" than "let's go".) An interesting and extreme case of this is the mockingbird, a mockingbird mimics a variety of other birds in the area to attempt to exclude not only male mockingbirds, but also to exclude males of other species to cut down on competition (mockingbirds, as most people know, are extremely territorial). The function of song in mockingbirds, similarly, is to attract mates, and females typically choose males who have the widest variety of songs.

In some species, both males and females sing. A classic example is the cardinal. During breeding season, a really neat observation that can be done in the field is to listen for 'countersinging', where the male and the female will sing the same songs back and forth. The female is typically the better songster in this case. This also has a territorial purpose, and two territorial males will also countersing. I once heard a very angry and territorial cardinal countersing with a tufted titmouse. The cardinal was not mimicking the titmouse, but was countering its rhythmic cadence. Really interesting.

Call notes, on the other hand, have a wider variety of functions. Lots of times there are call notes that are alarm or warning (chip) notes that are accompanied by displays. One good example of this is that some birds will pump their tails while firing off chip notes (again the cardinal comes to mind). During winter, a variety of birds form mixed winter flocks in forested areas, including kinglets, nuthatches, woodpeckers, etc. Chickadees and titmice are also part of the flock, and both act as 'nuclear' species to the flock, because the other birds will follow the contact and warning calls of the chickadees and titmice. This is the origin of the "pishing" that some birders will do when they want a bird to pop up out of a bush when it's hunkered down. The pish sound is the warning call of a tufted titmouse, and many other birds will respond to it.


No you aren't that guy.....

Great post...I've been into birding for a no. of years but listening to field sounds to id birds I haven't accomplished. I do love the countersinging of any species....wondering what the real call sounds like of the mockingbird, since he sings so many different tunes, so to speak. How does the female recognize the male during his imitation calls??
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
One of the natural sounds that chokes me up every time is goose music....flocks of geese yammering to each other as they get ready to pack their bags and fly somewhere else. Gets my blood going and I can't decide whether to shout goodbye or to grab the car keys in order to join them.
In the spring I shout to them, "Welcome! Glad you're back!" and in the fall, "Don't forget to come back! 'Bye!"

(I'm very rural so I can do that - no one to see me doing that. )
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
No you aren't that guy.....

Great post...I've been into birding for a no. of years but listening to field sounds to id birds I haven't accomplished. I do love the countersinging of any species....wondering what the real call sounds like of the mockingbird, since he sings so many different tunes, so to speak. How does the female recognize the male during his imitation calls??
Hi GBH, listening to field sounds is really a lot of fun. There are great resources for it, I'd definitely recommend the 3-disk Peterson guide to birding by ear. They lay out some great mnemonics for learning the bird songs. It really made a difference for me and for a few people who I know. I also got a resource for insect sounds and frog calls, since they can be common during the day too.

Regarding the mockingbird, their actual song is a series of repeated phrases strung together and repeated 3-5 times. That's how to differentiate it from a thrasher or catbird, which are also mimics. The mockingbird does have a very particular call note though, which I cannot describe with words except that it sounds like a 'chep'. I think that the note is territorial as well as a contact/courtship call between male and female. You can access the call note here (second audio clip down):

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/...ingbird/sounds

Good question regarding the female recognizing the male. I believe that it's a combination of her staying within established territory and having the auditory acuity to differentiate him from other males!

Also, I found a great article that breaks down mockingbird vocalizations, I thought I'd share that as well if you're interested:

https://baynature.org/article/do-moc...r-birds-songs/
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