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sound

The Sounds of Nine Special Birds

Can't get enough bird sounds? Enjoy a full minute of beautiful sounds of Cerulean, Golden-cheeked, Swainson's and Kirtland's Warblers, plus the Piping Plover, Lark Bunting, American Golden-Plover, Black-capped Vireo, and Olive-sided Flycatcher, recorded throughout North America, from Texas to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, sound, vocalization

A Different Drumming

The drumming of the male Ruffed Grouse is one of the most evocative sounds of the North American forest. Familiar as these accelerating burps are to hunters and hikers, the origin of this bizarre sound was long a mystery. It took the advent of wildlife cinematography to solve the riddle. In the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

Costa Rica Winter Sunrise

On a winter morning in Costa Rica, a colorful choir welcomes the day. A pair of Bay Wrens sings a brisk duet just before sunrise. Perched in the upper canopy of the tropical lowland forest, a group of Keel-billed Toucans calls out. In a nearby tree, Purple-throated Fruitcrows (like the one seen... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Late Fall Sounds to Listen For

By the time November rolls around, the bird songs of summer can seem a distant memory.But there’s always something to listen for. Small birds like chickadees and kinglets, including the Golden-crowned Kinglet pictured here, often mix in flocks while foraging. Geese can be heard overhead in the... read more »

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Birdsong, Music, and Neuroscience

Brain imaging studies have shown that hearing enjoyable music “lights up” the mesolimbic reward pathway in the human brain. But how does a bird experience a song from its own species? Scientists at Emory University found a similar pattern in the sparrow’s brain. Female White-throated Sparrows,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers

These Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers appear nearly identical, but the Hairy Woodpecker is larger than the Downy, with a distinctly longer bill. And it doesn't have the black spots on its outer tail feathers like the Downy. But even if you can’t observe these spunky birds, you can identify them by... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, birdwatching by ear, sound

Night Voices of Summer

At the close of a summer day, the songbirds go silent. As if on cue, the birds of the night make their voices known. In an Eastern woodland, the eerie trills and whinnies of an Eastern Screech-Owl are among the first sounds of the night. Meanwhile, as night falls west of the Rockies, the Western... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

Burrowing Owls Hiss Like a Rattlesnake!

Despite its name, the Burrowing Owl doesn’t do much digging. It’s better known for its hair-raising hiss, which may have evolved to mimic the warning of a cornered rattlesnake. The sonic threat of a venomous reptile could be just enough to warn away most unwanted visitors from the owl’s nest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, science, sound

Black-headed Grosbeak Sings!

The song of this male Black-headed Grosbeak has been described as that of a drunken or scat-singing robin. Compare the songs of both birds, and draw your own conclusion! Singing Black-headed Grosbeaks can be heard from May well into summer, especially in streamside woods. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Tweets 'n' Squawks: Learn How to Identify Birds by Song

Nothing signals spring quite like singing birds. As the length of days increase, male birds begin to sing to protect their territories from neighboring males and advertise their presence to nearby females. In spring, those males are vibrantly colored and may be easy to see, because they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

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