Friday, December 31

Detecting Northern Saw-whet Owls by Ear

Roosting Northern Saw-whet Owls are extremely difficult to find in migration or on wintering grounds even though they are quite common, and the assumption may be that there aren't any around. Cedars and honeysuckle tangles can be searched but often without reward, as even though most saw-whets are found at these sites, most likely most saw-whets roost elsewhere.
There is one way though to detect them with which considerable success can be achieved. That is by playing back a call (not song), either whine or "ksew", at night. The response is usually immediate, and most often only a single whine (a ksew response would be unusual). I prefer to use the ksew call as it is short and less likely to overlap the response, and I have a feeling that it actually works better than the whine. It's important to pick the right location: most birds call from wooded thickets alongside creeks. The less wind the better for easier hearing as calls are often not loud, and most birds only call once. The following recording is a typical example of what happens when a bird answers, except that I obtained a second response for good measure.

Hopefully you'll have success too and we'll find out a little bit more about these cute little guys.

Thursday, June 10

Welcome to BIRD CALLS and SONGS, an audio field guide to the bird sounds of the Eastern United States. Here you'll find my recordings of over 300 North American species and 70+ species which were recorded in the UK. Additionally there are nocturnal flight calls of over 100 species, and juvenile calls of almost 100 species.

My aim has been to provide an easily navigable reference and educational resource to bird vocalizations. Enjoy browsing the site!

Note: My blog has only limited bandwidth and this renews at the beginning of each month. If the audio clips are inaccessible it means that that month's bandwidth limit has been met.

Wednesday, June 9

Swainson's Warbler fledgling call

This is recent audio of a Swainson's Warbler fledgling at Howell Woods Environmental Center in North Carolina. I was at first drawn towards a chipping adult and then heard an unfamiliar sound coming from nearby vegetation. Approaching the sound, I observed a young Swainson's Warbler on the ground, so recently out of the nest that it couldn't fly.
(early June, NC)