Tuesday, April 7

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: I've recently changed the audio player from Flash so that audio clips are now accessible from Google Chrome and Safari.

Monday, April 6

Red-winged and Rusty Blackbird flight call comparison

Rusty Blackbirds can be difficult to identify by sight in flight. They look similar to Red-winged Blackbirds unless a good side-on or view beneath is obtained, where the slightly longer, slimmer body and longer club-shaped tail can be appreciated. It is usually difficult to see the thin bill and yellow eye. The flight calls, while similar, often afford a better way to locate and identify possible Rusties.

Rusty Blackbirds have two flight calls, a short, hard chack and a low soft gup. Red-winged Blackbirds have more varied calls but there are three main calls given in flight, a dry check, a hard tup (pek), and a soft rising pwik (by females). These calls are also made regularly by perched birds.

These are recordings made at the same location in early April, PA.
Red-winged Blackbird birds in flight:
Check, a drier, slightly higher and longer sounding call than the shorter, lower, harder Rusty chack.


Tup, a harder sounding call than the liquidy Rusty gup.


Pwik is distinctive.

Rusty Blackbirds (taking flight at 34s, April, PA). The chack call is harder and shorter than the red-winged check call, the gup call is softer than the red-winged tup.

Simple inverted chevrons are the gup calls. The chack call has rising inverted chevrons with several partials. Compare with the red-wing's longer check whose partials are more symmetric.

A second example of these calls, by perched birds at a nearby location (mid-April, PA),
Red-winged Blackbird check and tup

check, horizontal and symmetric partials


Rusty Blackbird chack

chack, rising asymmetric partials


the liquidy gup