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Saturday, March 06, 2010

New Favorite Bird Call

During a quick stroll around Prospect Park, I noticed that many of our winter birds are beginning to feel the pull of the season. By the end of the day I had discovered my new favorite bird vocalization.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles have been slowly arriving in Prospect Park for the last couple of weeks. The harsh ringing of these blackbirds filled the air along Breeze Hill and the Lullwater. "Konk-a-ree" and "kh-sheee", neither sound is very musical, but make me smile as they remind me of spring blooms and warmer weather. The park's overwintering Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos have also begun warming up their voices. Much of the snow in the park has melted and the Fox Sparrow's slurred, finch-like song seemed to be proclaiming the end of winter.

On Prospect Lake I spotted a male Hooded Merganser near the edge of Duck Island. He was performing a courtship display for a female tucked away and inconspicuous within a stand of reeds. With his bold black and white hood unfurled, the male shivered his head from side to side, then snapped it back, until his beak faced backwards. The bird was too far away from me to hear, but I could see his bill moving as he called out to his potential mate.

When I returned home, I researched the vocalization of a courting Hooded Merganser. What I found was both surprising and amusing. When you listen to the clip below, keep in mind that one of the hooded's nicknames is "Frog Duck".

1 comment:

Samantha said...

That is great!! Love it!!!

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