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Instrumental Bird Sounds

Feathers and bills make fascinating music!

Birds communicate with a fascinating array of instrumental sounds, and nearly all are made with their feathers or bills. The territorial drumming of a woodpecker - like this Black-backed Woodpecker - is one example. American Crows clatter their beaks to make rattling sounds. And the remarkable drumming of a Ruffed Grouse is produced by a rapid beating of its wings. Be sure to watch the video!

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Instrumental Bird Sounds

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote!
Listen for a moment to this remarkable drumming of a Ruffed Grouse. [Ruffed Grouse drumming] The resulting percussion, produced by a rapid beating of the wings, is a vivid example of a non-vocal or instrumental bird sound.
Birds communicate with a fascinating array of instrumental sounds, and nearly all are made by their feathers or bills. A woodpecker’s territorial drumming [Northern Flicker drumming] is a familiar example. The bird raps its bill briskly against the most resonant nearby object, which is sometimes the metal vent pipe on your roof.
 [Northern Flicker drumming]
The male Wilson’s Snipe creates a magical, flute-like sound in flight, fluttering its wings to direct the flow of air over outspread tail feathers. [Wilson’s Snipe winnowing]
Listen to this American Crow. [American Crow bill clatter] It makes this clattering sound by rattling the edges of its bill together. [American Crow bill clatter]
And an American Bittern’s comical burps [American Bittern “oonk-a-loonk”] are, well, burps, made by swallowing air and then releasing it. [American Bittern “oonk-a-loonk”]
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
###

Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Ruffed Grouse drumming recorded by R.S. Little; drumming of Northern Flicker by D.S. Herr; winnowing of Wilson’s Snipe by W.L. Hershberger; American Bittern by S.R. Pantle. Bill clattering of American Crow by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org                June 2017  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# 062806nonvoxKPLU                     sound-03b MS

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