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Monday, June 3, 2013

Singing from the willows

I haven't been able to share any sounds from Bodega Head recently, so here's an audio recording from Campbell Cove this past weekend.  [Remember, if you're reading this in an e-mail, click on the title of the post above to go to the website to access the audio files.  You might need to turn up your volume.]

I never saw this bird, but it was singing from just inside the edge of the willows.

swth song1 by nhbh

The Birds of North America account for Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) starts this way: "This secretive denizen of forests and woodlands across the northern portion of the continent is perhaps best known by its flutelike, upwardly spiraling song that lingers well into the fading summer twilight."  Here's another example of its song:

swth song4 by nhbh

And now that you've heard the thrush's song a couple of times, below is a third recording with a variety of other species singing nearby.  Especially noticeable is a Wilson's Warbler calling and singing towards the end of the recording (there's a single warbler call note at 19 seconds and a song at 24 seconds).
  swth song2 by nhbh

Just before I left the area, the Swainson's Thrush started giving a loud, down-slurred call note.  I scrambled to get the recorder out again and was lucky to capture a few notes (next file).  Listen for four call notes, and then the thrush starts to sing again. 
  swth calls by nhbh

In general, bird songs are usually longer and more complex and used to advertise territories or attract mates; calls are shorter and simpler and used to maintain contact or express alarm (or sometimes the function is unknown).

Although even more common in forested areas further inland, it's nice that a few Swainson's Thrushes sing from some of the shady, wooded sites on Bodega Head.

1 comment:

LaRee Maguire said...

Thank you for this Jackie, the Swainson's Thrush is my very favorite bird song, with the Hermit's Thrush running a very close 2nd. Try listening to the song slowed way down, it's amazing!