Thursday, April 1

Icterid songs

Red-winged Blackbird, two males counter-singing (Apr, NJ). Each male has a repertoire of up to nine songs.

Red-winged Blackbird with the vaguely similar Seaside Sparrow singing (Apr, NJ).

Seaside Sparrow to left

Female Red-winged Blackbirds have calls that have been interpreted as representing song. Here the hard tup calls are by males, all other vocalizations by females. (June, PA).

Here the female vocalizations coincide with the male song, and when vocalizing the female fluffed up its feathers similar to a singing male, further evidence that this is a female song (May, PA).

Males making a female-like vocalization (July, PA).

Rusty Blackbirds have two song types, a squeaky wheel type and another that is gurgling. Both sexes sing (male, Apr, NJ).

(April, NJ)

In this version, the bird adds chips in between the song phrases (April, PA)

A hoarse-sounding song by a hidden bird that I'm fairly sure was a female (April, PA).

In the spring Rusty Blackbirds move north in noisy flocks of singing birds, often with Red-winged Blackbirds mixed in. This flock of about twenty birds was in a wooded area with standing water in April, again in SW NJ.
Hopefully we'll continue to hear this sound, as Rusty Blackbirds are dramatically declining.

About 50 birds in a tree (April, PA).

The Common Grackle "song" is call-like and can have a squeaky component, resembling the Rusty Blackbird song. Each individual (both sexes sing) has only one song. In the following example, two birds appeared to be duetting (Mar, PA). At least one (the other was hidden) performed the ruffed out display as it sang.

Another example (Apr, NJ).

The song is often two-parted, with a whistle following the initial harsh phrase. The bird ruffles its neck feathers for the first part, then points its bill down and cocks its tail up for the whistle (Mar, PA).

In this example, some of the songs have the whistle, some don't (with check and trr calls, Mar, PA).

Boat-tailed Grackle singing at dawn. Each bird has a syllable repertoire of about 10 (Apr, NJ).

Song with wing-fluttering.

Displaying males make a low fluttering sound in short flights (Feb,FL).

time scale reduced

The Brown-headed Cowbird song is a bubbly note at the start followed by a whistle. Each male has a small repertoire of several different phrases. Lone male in tree top (May, NJ)

In this example, the lone male, singing at the top of a tree interjects a two-noted flight whistle on occasion (Apr, PA).

the flight whistle (each male has one)

Baltimore Oriole (May, PA).

(May, NJ).

(May, NJ)

The song often sounds like nothing more than a call (May, NJ).


Orchard Oriole (May, VA)

(Eastern Kingbird in background, May, NJ).

Bobolink, each male has a repertoire of two, but they are often sung incompletely (June, PA).

(June, NJ)

The song is often given in flight (June, NJ)

As with many other species in this family, Bobolinks sing in noisy flocks when migrating (May, PA).

Eastern Meadowlarks have large repertoires. Singing often takes place from the tops of tall trees (June, PA).

song by a flock of wintering birds (Nov, NJ).

Western Meadowlark, each male has a reperoire of about seven songs (dawn, Mar, NE).

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