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Thread subject: Cecelia's mystery birdcall
Name Date Message
Melanie 04/20/05 02:49 pm I have tossed this out to a number of places who would be pro's at bird song, including the folks up at Sapsucker Woods at Cornell. While no one is 100% sure, everyone seems to agree on one bird ----- drum roll ----- a tufted titmouse. I had a hard time with that, but when Cornell comes back with it, you gotta believe.


Cornel's response: I can certainly understand why this song has people stumped. I sent it to one of our audio archivists whose job is to spend his time listening to cuts of bird song. Here's what he had to say: It is odd, but the tone is still good for titmouse. There are even one or two titmice giving their typical scold notes at the beginning of the segment. I'd say Tufted Titmouse, but not 100% sure because I have never heard them do something quite like this. I have not heard anything else do anything quite like this either, for what it is worth
Cecilia 04/20/05 04:14 pm Melanie...thanks so much for getting an opinion from such a prestigious source! I certainly wouldn't argue with Cornell's bird people :-) The Titmouse recording I sent you is so different but there is something very similar in the timbre and musicality of the two calls so I bet they are right. The funny thing is that I felt like I had heard that bird but I just couldn't place it...now we know why. It's like the difference between my singing voice and Maria Callas :-)
DaveS 04/20/05 06:23 pm You folks are amazing, keep up the good work. This is what we had hoped the site would help foster.
Lori 04/20/05 09:30 pm WOW! The last bird I ever would have thought of!Seems like such alot of volume for such a little bird! I was off yesterday & outside most of the day; yard work is soo much fun! But I could have sworn that I heard that bird song again, probably never paid much attention to it before,so never gave it much notice. I do have quite a few titmice?!? around the neighborhood!! Thanks Melanie for your research!! :-)
Celeste 04/21/05 05:43 am I have got the worst memory when learning birdcalls. (I am very good at recognizing osprey though:))--- And, only yesterday I "thought" I heard a titmouse and duplicated what I "thought" I heard on the computer. We "see" titmice at our feeder, but never hear them in person. I am sure today I "forgot"!
Melanie 04/21/05 09:38 am Didn't take a whole lot of research - most sites have a "contact us" link and I just sent them the URL to the clip and asked if they felt up to a challenge. I didn't figure on the response it got - I first sent if off to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center which is local to me. They do a lot of migratory bird research and are involved in hatching and transplanting Whooping Cranes out west. They ended up sending it off to 10 of their buddies up and down the East Coast and next thing you know, emails were flying fast and furious. I couldn't quite believe a Titmouse, so I figured I had such great luck with them that I would give Cornell a try. The worst that could happen would be no response at all.

I was listening to a Titmouse this morning - they do get quite loud. This one was branching out from his normal song. He would do a little improvisation, but always came back to Peter Peter. and nothing like what we heard.

After all this, I've been so immersed in listening to different bird songs that I felt very smug this morning listening to the birds, and on top of the normal run of the mill Robins, grackles, starlings and house finches, I ID'd a Carolina Wren, a Titmouse, a Rose Breasted Nuthatch, a PeeWee and something else that I can't remember the name of right now, but I knew what bird it was when I heard it. Ah, the vagaries of age, but it's a start! Birding by ear is something I have wanted to start learning for a long time. No time like the present.
Melanie 04/21/05 04:16 pm This may not be over yet - I just got another email from Cornell saying: I couldn't quite let go of this sound clip without double checking so I've sent it along to another of my sources. I'll let you know what he has to say...

Like the man said, it ain't over till it's over.
Cecilia 04/21/05 06:46 pm I love it!!! Maybe we've discovered a new breed. LOL I'm so glad you thought of sending the clip off to someone, it didn't cross my mind. Looking forward to the next response :-)

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006