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What the Robin Knows - the new book by Jon Young

  "Deep bird language is an ancient discipline, perfected by Native peoples the world over. Finally, science is catching up. . ." Jon Young shares a doorway into the secret language of nature in this exciting new book. Order Online At: Publication Date: May 8,...

What the Robin Knows

Audio Listing: By Vocalization Type

The following is a listing of the audio tracks by vocalization type, so that you can compare each of the five voices across species. (Jon Young also shares more in-depth nuances of how to interpret these five voices in What the Robin Knows).

Click a link to scroll down to each section:

Songs – Typically denote a “baseline” harmony

Calls - May be used to maintain pair contact, in aggressive encounters, and other situations

Alarms – Listen for tone, frequency, and “feeling” to help separate alarm from territorial aggression or other call patterns.

Overview Page of the Five Voices

You can also peruse this library by species.


Thanks to Dan Gardoqui of White Pine Programs, audio and science editor for the book, for producing this compilation.

All recordings used with permission of Lang Elliott, NatureSound Studio in conjunction with What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2012).

All recordings © Lang Elliott, NatureSound Studio, All Rights Reserved.


 

Songs

Songs

American Robin

1. Typical song: rhythmic, melodic phrases.

Dark-eyed Junco

5. Typical song: a high, metallic trill (sometimes confused with chipping sparrows).

6. Two-parted song and chips: a variation on a typical song, then contact calls.

Song Sparrow

9. Typical song: usually begins with 2 to 3 clear notes, then a complex array of notes follows.

Bewick’s Wren

13. Song: regional variation of song is normal in this species.

14. Variation on song: males have a complex repertoire; here’s an example with nasal notes.

Carolina Wren

17. Song: this classic loud, clear song says “tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle.”

18. Song: another typical variation says “che-wortel, che-wortel, che-wortel.”

19. Song with female chatter: a male sings while a female pipes in with raspy calls.

House Wren

23. Song: an example of this unique outburst of song.

Common Yellowthroat

25. Song: a wavering series of melodic notes (variation in song is normal with this species).

Red-winged Blackbird

28. Male songs: a wetland chorus of conk-a-ree.

29. Female calls and song: chack calls and high-pitched chatter song of females.

Northern Cardinal

32. Song: examples of loud, clear whistles of cardinal songs; variation is common.

33. Chit and song: typical contact calls, then a “cheer-cheer, whoit, whoit…” song with a “chrrrr” call at tagged into the end (the chrrrr is likely meant a as display of fitness, as it’s believed to be a very sound difficult to make.

Spotted Towhee

35. Songs: two examples of their song.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

38. Song: examples of this loud, complex song from one of the tiniest birds in North America.

Hermit Thrush

40. Song: examples of one of the most celebrated songs of all North American songbirds.

White-Throated Sparrow

43. Song: this easily recognized whistle song says “Oh-sweet-Canada-Canada-Canada.”

American Goldfinch

45. Song: typical long, warbling song of the American Goldfinch.

Black-Capped Chickadee

49. Song: the song of the black-capped chickadee is a loud, clear, whistled fee-bee.

Northern Bobwhite Quail

58. Bob-white!: made mostly by unmated males in the spring (like a “song”).


 

Calls

American Robin

2. Whinny calls†: may be used when agitated, in aggressive encounters, or as a mild alarm.

Dark-eyed Junco

6. Two-parted song and chips: a variation on a typical song, then contact calls.

7. Kew-kew-kew: calls often used during and after aggressive encounters.

Song Sparrow

10. Chip calls: calls often used as an alarm call or when agitated.

11. Seep calls: high, clear contact calls used in families and flocks.

12. Zee calls: calls given by fledglings.

Bewick’s Wren

16. Calls: often vary by age and gender.

Carolina Wren

20. Ti-dink! calls: loud notes used as contact calls between birds.

Common Yellowthroat

27. Aggressive chatter: used when combating others of its kind.

Red-winged Blackbird

29. Female calls and song: chack calls and high-pitched chatter song of females.

30. Contact: loud chack! calls used within the flock.

Northern Cardinal

33. Chit and song: typical contact calls, then a “cheer-cheer, whoit, whoit…” song with a “chrrrr” call at tagged into the end (the chrrrr is likely meant a as display of fitness, as it’s believed to be a very sound difficult to make.

Spotted Towhee

36. Mew and chip: Mew call used for a variety of purposes (as an alarm when scolding or mobbing, as a contact call when feeding, and in some male-to-male aggressive situations). Chip calls usually given in moderately alarming situations (e.g., handling by humans).

37. More mew and chip calls: slightly different variations of #36.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

39. Chi-dit calls: used mostly as a contact call (both in flight and when perched); also used occasionally in aggressive male chases.

Hermit Thrush

41. Chup-chup and vreee: the functions of these calls are not entirely known, but the chup-chup is often an alarm used in hostile situations, while vreee may be both an alarm and a contact call.

White-Throated Sparrow

44. Seep and pink! : the quieter seep vocalization is used mostly as contact call; the louder pink! is primarily a general alarm call (but can be heard when going to roost as well).

American Goldfinch

46. Po-ta-to-chip: a contact call given both in flight and when stationary.

48. Chip-pee: a begging call given by persistent fledglings as they follow parents around.

Black-Capped Chickadee

50.Chick-a-dee: a variable vocalization with multiple functions, including predator mobbing (in this case, the more dees at the end, the more threatening the predator); as an “all clear” call after the predator has left; or as a food source is located.

Killdeer

52. Kill-deer: known primarily as a flight display call often in alarm situations, sometimes simply as an assembly call.

California Quail

56. Assembly or rally call: a common call, chi-CA-go, usually given more than 10 times.

Northern Bobwhite Quail

59. Scatter call: one of the most common contact calls used to locate and coordinate movement of flock members.

Blue Jay

63. Jeer: used as a contact call as well as in mobbing and other alarming situations. Gradation of calls, ability to mimic, complex vocal abilities, and large vocabulary make classification of Blue Jay calls very difficult.

Steller’s Jay

64. Red-Tailed Hawk call: here the Steller’s Jay mimics the call of a red-tailed hawk. Exact function is unknown, but it’s often given by a hidden bird, maybe to manipulate other wildlife.

Red Squirrel

69. Various calls: begins with scold sequence alarm, followed by territorial chatter (also known as chatter-trill), interspersed with whining calls given in social encounters.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

70. Harsh nasal calls: used as both an alarm and in nonthreatening social situations.

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

71. Social calls: typical squeaky, wheezy social calls of prairie dogs.


 

Alarms

American Robin

3. Peek! and tut! alarms†: used as alarm calls, often near nest (can also be used as aggressive voice in intraspecies encounters).

4. High seeee alarm: an alarm call made in proximity to an aerial predator (usually hawk); the high-pitched call is difficult to locate.

 

Dark-eyed Junco

8. Tsit! Tsit! Tsit! alarm: subtle, quiet alarm vocalizations of the Junco.

Bewick’s Wren

15. Alarm: listen to the harsh, raspy notes of this alarm call.

Carolina Wren

21. Dit-dit alarm: urgent alarm calls given by females.

22. Male alarm: persistent, raspy calls like this mean trouble for the wrens.

House Wren

24. Alarm: persistent, raspy, scolding alarm calls sound similar to other wren alarms.

Common Yellowthroat

26. Alarm: loud tschat! calls indicate trouble is nearby.

Red-winged Blackbird

31. Cheer alarm: one of many loud, whistled alarms given by red-wings.

Northern Cardinal

34. Alarm: tink! alarm calls (louder and more urgent than chit call notes).

Spotted Towhee

36. Mew and chip: Mew call used for a variety of purposes (as an alarm when scolding or mobbing, as a contact call when feeding, and in some male-to-male aggressive situations). Chip calls usually given in moderately alarming situations (e.g., handling by humans).

Hermit Thrush

41. Chup-chup and vreee: the functions of these calls are not entirely known, but the chup-chup is often an alarm used in hostile situations, while vreee may be both an alarm and a contact call.

42. Weeh: this raspy vocalization is mostly used by agitated birds as an alarm call.

White-Throated Sparrow

44. Seep and pink! : the quieter seep vocalization is used mostly as contact call; the louder pink! is primarily a general alarm call (but can be heard when going to roost as well).

American Goldfinch

47. Bay-bee: an alarm call, given by distressed birds, often at or near the nest. Also mixed in are nasally “what-the-hell” calls, also made by the goldfinches.

Black-Capped Chickadee

51. Alarm: a small flock of chickadees vocalizes in the presence of a sharp-shinned hawk. Listen for all the high-pitched see and rapid fire zap notes mixed in with chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee (up to 9 dees in this example) alarm calls.

Killdeer

53. Te-dit-dit: an alarm call given by wary birds; often head bobbing is associated with this call.

54. Deet!: an alarm call given by birds on the ground, usually near nest.

55. Aggressive trill: a sputtering alarm call given by a bird chasing predator from nest.

California Quail

57. Pit-pit-pit: an alarm call given when a predator is detected; can be mixed in with a rally call.

Northern Bobwhite Quail

60. Alarm: bobwhites use a variety of alarm calls, starting softly and increasing in frequency and intensity as a predator draws nearer.

American Crow

61. Alarm: in this example, the crows are mobbing a human (who is making field recordings of birds).

62. Alarm: here the crows are mobbing a red-tailed hawk.

 

Blue Jay

63. Jeer: used as a contact call as well as in mobbing and other alarming situations. Gradation of calls, ability to mimic, complex vocal abilities, and large vocabulary make classification of Blue Jay calls very difficult.

Black-billed Magpie

65. Alarm: the alarm begins with owl vocalizing and bill snapping (agitation), then magpie scolding calls, more owl hoots, magpie scolds, and so on.

Chipmunk

66. Terrestrial threat: a repeated loud, sharp chip!-chip!-chip! warns of ground predators and threats.

67. Aerial threat: a repeated low, dull cluck-cluck-cluck warns of aerial predators and threats.

68. Chip! trill: usually given by a chipmunk diving for cover from threat.

Red Squirrel

69. Various calls: begins with scold sequence alarm, followed by territorial chatter (also known as chatter-trill), interspersed with whining calls given in social encounters.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

70. Harsh nasal calls: used as both an alarm and in nonthreatening social situations.

 

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

72. Alarm: typical high-pitched barks of agitated prairie dogs

White-tailed Deer

73. Alarm: a deer snort sequence, then snorting while bounding away.

Northern Mockingbird

74. Alarm: a mockingbird mobs a barn owl while making harsh, raspy vocalizations.

Purple Finch

75. Alarm: with a Cooper’s Hawk nearby, a purple finch belts out a very strange alarm – a vireo song.

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