Song Birds - Sounds Wild
The Summer Orchestra


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The summer orchestra

On a summer morning the forest is alive with the music of songbirds. With a little practice, it's possible to identify these singers. Robins and thrush, flycatchers, warblers, chickadees and sparrows can be picked out.

To help, birders have assigned some phrases or mnemonic devices to identify calls - words said to the tune and speed of a bird call. The call of the American Robin can be spoken as "cheer up… …cheerio." The Olive-sided Flycatcher is another bird whose call is easier to remember with a phrase. Perching atop dead tree snags in coniferous areas, they announce their territory by calling out "Quick, Three beers!" In the case of the chickadee, the name is reminiscent of their chickadee-dee- song.

It's helpful to make up your own phrases and reminders to help identify birds by song and call. The call of the varied thrush reminds me of my grade school gym teacher's whistle. Both the bird and the whistle create two notes at the same time, a distinct buzzy whistle that carries well.