Friday, March 22, 2013

Ear Birding

It's time to refresh ones auditory memory for the coming onslaught of migrating songbirds. If you've never learned any bird songs, now is the best time to start.

If you've ever come on any of my bird walks, you know that I rely on my ears a lot to easily locate birds. There's nothing magical about developing that skill. All it takes is a few minutes a day for a couple of weeks (and decent hearing) to learn a large number of the "important" birds. If you follow my directions, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

First, purchase the Peterson Field Guides series of CDs "Birding by Ear: Eastern/Central" and "More Birding by Ear Eastern and Central North America".

The warblers are the most important songbirds to learn. Once you've purchased the discs, using iTunes (or similar software) import the following tracks:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Sing-songers Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4
Warbling Songsters Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 6
Wood Warblers & a Warbling Wren Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Warblers: Buzzy More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 1
Warblers: Simple More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 2
Warblers: Two-Parted More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 3
Warblers: Complex More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 4
Empidonax Flycatchers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4

Note that I included the empidonax flycatchers on the list as they are notoriously difficult to separate visually, but have distinctive vocalizations.

The woodland thrushes are also incredible songsters, so I recommend the following tracks:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Thrushes Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 2
Thrushes More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 7

By the time all the warblers begin streaming through NYC you'll surprise yourself by how many birds you'll be able to find using just your ears.

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