Friday, October 23, 2009

Bird Sounds

Birders often identify birds entirely or in part by sound. Although we tend to think of bird sounds as bird songs, there are other sounds which are distinctive to some species of birds that are not songs.

One sound I associate with fall is the sound of Inca Dove wings when they fly. It sounds like dry leaves rustling and is very distinctive. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any sound libraries that have captured this sound--they focus on calls. The Birds of North America Online (access available by subscription only) mentions this sound, but doesn't provide a recording. However, it does say the sound is produced by elongated 6th and 7th primary feathers and that immature birds produce less sound because only one primary is longer. If you're interested in a subscription to BNA, it is $40 a year; $25 a year if you are a member of the Texas Ornithological Society (TOS.) The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has the online Macaulay Library of sounds, but I haven't taken the time to listen to all of the available recordings to see if any capture the wing sound.

One non-song sound that these libraries do contain is of woodpeckers drumming. Different species of woodpeckers drum in differing rythyms, which can be used to identify woodpeckers in the field.

Speaking of sounds....Bob Lindsay of Wild Bird Rescue reports in his blog that he heard the distinctive calls of sandhill cranes at Lake Wichita this week.

Good birding!

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