Friday, August 21, 2009

A new way to birdwatch(or listen)

So, with the advent of field guides we turned our attention to the finer points of bird identification. Focusing on wingbars, eyelines, eye rings, belly bands,...etc. Many decades later we turn to the computer for assistance. Now with technology at an all-time high we look and listen night!

Across North America (and our glorious Adirondacks) birders this fall are training(and straining!) their ears to pick out the softest and highest of bird call notes that are given while birds are in full migration flying overhead...somewhere around 11PM to the early morning hours (4-6AM) the next day. Yes..correct...many birds migrate south at night(less bad weather, no predators to eat them, and hopefully good north winds to push them southward). We listen for "zips", "tsips", and "seets"!
I recently found a chat group:
that discusses the finer details of Nocturnal Flight Calls. They've taken birding to another whole different level of bird identification. Many will listen and call out bird names based on these flight calls(warblers, sparrows, finches,...etc), because they all give out a different sound. Some "nocturnalists" even have recording equipment that is pointed directly skyward to pick up the flight calls and then they analyze the calls on computers to identify the species...amazing!
Here in our Adirondack backyards we can hear the same calls. Just before bedtime head outside some clear, cool night or for the early risers...crack-o-dawn, and listen for those gentle buzzes, seeps, and tsips. No doubt you'll be hearing thrushes, warblers, sparrows, sandpipers...and the occasional snore from the neighbors, all winging their way south through the clear star-filled autumnal sky....except your neighbor.

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