Monday, June 20, 2011

would a warbling vireo warble in our woods?

Been hearing a bird song while gardening, lately, that's driving me NUTS.

It's very rapidly trilly-up and down with a song that arcs twice, like two rainbows hitched together.

Been at Cornell this a.m. and last night, fishing around bird songs semi-blindly. (btw I play them QUIETLY 'cause it's not good to freak other birds out, you know, the ones that actually live here and are trying to establish a territory right about now, hence the singing)

Don't know lots about bird song, but can usually play a few species' calls and know if it's that group or not.

Then, some time this morning, I hit play here.

 warbling vireo
photo: John Harrison at

Oooh! That's certainly in the right neighborhood. And the warbling vireo is all over the U.S.

However, I only remember two rounds of the up and down, tho' that's possibly variable?

Anyhow, the Cornell folks say something I've never read about another species (bolded section):

"A drab bird of riparian woodlands, the Warbling Vireo is more easily heard than seen. It has no distinctive field marks, but its rapid warbling song with a accented, high-pitched last note is relatively easy to recognize. "

1. erg re: no distinctive field marks. field biologist's nightmare.

2. reminds me of herp stuff talking about "highly variable color and pattern" (oh, yay), but

3. that last part (high-pitched last note) is exciting and I will DEFINITELY be listening for a high-pitched last note today. PROMISING!

(4. I love this web site and the amazing work those folks do, so I will politely ignore "a accented"--ouch!)

Crossing fingers.

Do you have any bird sounds in your aural world that you want to figure out? Or that you have figured out? If so, how did you do it?



  1. I hope this bird survies thank you for taking notice. So many birds did not retunr this year from the South . The farmers have not seen a barn swallow in two years around here. In New York State it is the silent spring. In the Deep south millions of birds are dead because of the disperasant that the Oil companies used. How ever the Raptors are doing fine with so many species dying now but they will die to no doubt from the same poison man has spread on this planet . Take a photo it may be the last one you see. shedding tears here

  2. around here...i haven't heard any birds that i can't see...and i've gotten pretty good at distinguishing one from the other...cardinal, mockingbird, barred owl, blue jay, red shouldered hawk, and the hummingbirds i usually recognize by the sound of their wings...unless they're fighting...then they raise their voice!!

    thanks for mentioning Cornell...will save that site!

  3. There's a bird in the east San Pablo Bay area that has a very nasal sort of call. I don't exactly know what kind of results I'd get searching for "bird that sounds really snide."


Cool people write inside rectangles....