Many among us love to hear the song of the wood thrush which has inspired many love poems through the history of our literature. But most of us don’t know a bird’s call from its song.
Bird song, "usually produced by the male, is an advertisement of territory and breeding availability, and, in most species, is limited to the breeding season …" It is mostly about territory or love songs, we can generally hear it only in spring and early summer, when the birds are nesting.
A few birds sing throughout the year. In some species, the bird is physically incapable of singing during the fall and winter.
"Bird calls tend to be unmusical, acoustically simpler, and less complex than the proclamatory songs, and they serve to communicate whereabouts between pairs or among members of a flock, warning sounds, sharp notes to intimidate or drive away enemies..."
When that same chickadee calls–"chick-a-dee-dee" or "chick-a-dee-dee-dee"–it may be saying literally, “Chickadee here! Here I am!” If there’s a fear; a predator nearby, more "dees" means more danger.
The common yellowthroat, is recognizable with its: "witchety-witchety-witchety."
We need to concentrate hear the difference between the "peter-peter-peter" of the tufted titmouse and the "TEACHer-TEACHer-TEACHer" of the ovenbird.
Sounds travel depends on the bird’s environment. Different sounds travel better in different environments. Some birds sound the way they do because of where they live.
Olive-sided flycatcher sings atop a tall tree and its whistled song carries half a mile through the open air.
One red-eyed vireo was heard to repeat its song over 22,000 times in ten hours!
Listen to wood thrush, robin, chickadee voices
Learn about chickadee codes
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