Monday, June 29, 2009

Birdsong - Sonograms/Spectrograms

I was looking at another birding blog and noticed someone's sonogram quiz with the outcome being a Common Yellowthroat. I can easily ID those birds in the field, but getting my brain to actually grasp what the 'song' is actually doing is difficult - I'm always about two notes behind the yellowthroat. It has a sort of spiraling or circling quality that 'witchity witchity witchity' just fails to grasp a bit. The sonogram clearly showed it.

I really feel like if I had a book of birdsong sonograms I'd learn the songs a lot quicker. I've been trained to read music, and birdsong doesn't stray far from those skills. I've also noticed that sometimes when I listen, I hear intricate little details other birders either don't care about or don't hear. They get completely left out of the common mnemonics, despite that for me, those tiny details are the parts that should be part of identifying the bird by song. Sure, you can make your yellowthroat say, "Witchity witchity witchity" but guess how many times I have thought I've heard that, only for it to actually be a Yellow Warbler? A Yellow Warbler doesn't just say, "Sweet sweet sweet I am so sweet." That species has a call very similar to the yellowthroat that mnemonics doesn't not really differentiate clearly. A sonogram, I bet, would.

1 comment:

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