Tuesday, March 26

Warbler songs III : high-pitched songs

The following five species have very high-pitched songs.
Note: American Redstarts have varied phrases that can sometimes approach these songs in frequency.

Blackburnian Warblers each have a first category (to attract mates) and a second category (male-male interaction) song. Both songs may be accented, but the second category is longer.
Second category; note the chips in between the phrases, these are identical to the begging calls of juveniles, and not heard in first category songs. This is the aggressive song used to maintain territory and the one sung at dawn (July, ME)











first category, heard during the day (July, ME)












Blackpoll warblers have also two different song types (per BNA), delivered at different speeds, which may function as first or second category songs. There has been speculation that song speed varies geographically. The following are recordings of migrants.
(May, PA)











(May, PA)











faster song (May, PA)













even faster song (May, PA)





The Black-and-white Warbler has a "squeaky wheel" song, but there is another version that is more extended.
regular song (May, NJ)













extended version, probably representing second category (June, NJ)











Shorter version of probable second category song, at sunrise (June, NJ).







This example lacks the more usual up and down arrangement of notes, sounding more like a Cape May Warbler (May, NJ).













Cape May Warblers have two song types, one monosyllabic and the other bisyllabic. This male sang the first type, which could be confused with a Tufted Titmouse, from the top of a conifer in an otherwise mostly deciduous woodland. Because the other song type is more complex, this is most likely the first category song. (May, PA).












Bisyllabic song type, probably second category song, migrant high in a spruce. Sometimes this song is two-parted, with a Wilson's-like flourish. Some versions are similar to Bay-breasted, but the notes are more separated and there is a slightly staccato sound not heard in the Bay-breasted song, where the notes merge together. Blackpoll is much more regular in rhythm and usually distinctive. Perhaps more than any other warbler, visual confirmation is advisable for migrating Cape May Warblers (May, PA)




Unseen bird singing both songs (May, PA)






The Bay-breasted Warbler song is short, rapid and high-pitched, with a hissing quality. There are apparently accented and unaccented versions.
Migrant male singing high in an oak (May, RI).














American Redstarts have varied songs that can be confused with several other warbler species. Those that are high-pitched can sound like Black-and-white, Cape May or Blackburnian Warblers. Generally, these high frequency songs are a good deal shorter and if there is immediate variety, can be told apart instantly (June, NJ).




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