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American Robins Are Exceptional Singers

Robin songs enchant us with beauty and variety

As singers go, American Robins are exceptional. They’re often the first birds to sing in the morning, and the last you’ll hear in the evening. While their average song strings fewer than a dozen short phrases together and lasts only a few seconds, robins sometimes sing for minutes without a pause. But the most extraordinary measure of robin song is its variety.

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BirdNote®  

American Robins Are Exceptional Singers

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[American Robin song]

These rich, caroled phrases are among the best loved and most widely heard in North America. This superb song belongs to perhaps our most familiar bird, the American Robin.  

As singers go, the robin is exceptional. They’re often the first birds to sing in the morning, starting well before dawn, [whinny] and the last you’ll hear in the evening, holding forth into deep twilight. [Continuous robin song in background] Robins also begin singing earlier in the year than most birds, often in mid-winter. [Continuous robin song in background] 

And robins can be remarkably long-winded. While their average song strings fewer than a dozen short phrases together and lasts a few seconds, robins sometimes sing for minutes without a pause. [Robin song going on and on]

But the most extraordinary measure of robin song is its variety. In each song, a robin sings a varied selection from a repertoire of 10 to 20 different caroling phrases. Then as evening comes on, the same robin interweaves these phrases with exquisite whisper-like notes – from its personal treasury of 75 to 100 different whispered notes [in ever changing combination!] [Song incorporating hisselly phrases]

The potential song variety is amazing. The musical results: enchanting. Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Song of American Robin [94255] recorded by W.L. Hershberger; [44903] recorded by G.A.Keller; song with hisselly phrases [94383] recorded by W.L. Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org  May 2017  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#  sound-20-2013-05-06 sound-20 

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