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Bay Area Bird Blog » Are East Coast bird songs more complicated than ours?
July
16th 2008
Are East Coast bird songs more complicated than ours?

Posted under bird behavior

I was on the island of North Haven, Maine for the past two weeks.  Great birding there — see my post last week for a very brief write-up.  One thing that struck me was how incredibly complicated some of the warbler songs are (and maybe not just warblers, there were lots of singers I couldn’t see).  Instead of a little whee-whee-trilll-whee or something, there would be these long, elaborate arias with trills and “widget-widget” sounds and runs of whistles and all kinds of things, just on and on.  Do our birds out here just not have songs that are this elaborate, or some of them do but not the ones I encounter, or perhaps I’m just rarely in a place that is as absolutely quiet as North Haven so other sounds mask the songs?  Or are East Coast birds just better singers for some reason?

3 Responses to “Are East Coast bird songs more complicated than ours?”

  1. Willow on 28 Jul 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    I can’t scientifically answer your question but coming from Ohio I’d have to say the birds do sing differently. It took me about 3 years to get used to not hearing all my familiar bird calls. I live in the redwoods and the biggest singer seems to be the finches. Tho there is an evening song bird I wish I could see when it calls. It sounds much like a Tazan movie jungle bird. ?? And it must be migratory, too since I don’t hear it all year.

  2. admin on 29 Jul 2008 at 9:50 am #

    A “Tarzan movie jungle bird,” huh? I can’t quite think of what that would sound like…not that it would help since, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to bird calls.

    It’s too bad there’s no audio equivalent to quickly scanning through a book with your eyes. It would be great if there were a way to “look up” bird songs that way.

    I’ve heard of (but never tried) websites that let you hum a song, and they tell you what the song is by comparing it to digital audio tracks —- it is amazing to me that this ever works at all, and incredible that it supposedly works well. I look forward to the day when I’ll be able to try to imitate a bird song into my phone or whatever, and the phone will tell me what the bird is. Better living through science, that’ll be.

  3. Bart I on 23 Oct 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    > It sounds much like a Tazan movie jungle bird.

    Just found this blog while trying to answer the same question. In my case it turned out to be a killdeer

    (listen:
    http://www.learnbirdsongs.com/birdsong.php?id=18 )

    It’s a pretty eerie sound when you’re out somewhere in the dark.

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