Bird-A-Day, Week 10: Hanging On by a Thread and a Song

Bird-A-Day, Week 10: Hanging On by a Thread and a Song

Rene Ebersole
Published: 03/09/2012

                           By Melvin Yap via Flickr Creative Commons

With temperatures reaching as high as 70 degrees in the New York City area this week and the days getting longer, many birds have been warming up their vocal chords. This morning they were in full chorus.Thankfully those crooners are helping me hang on just a little while longer in the Bird-A-Day Challenge.

Though most of them are fairly common, there are at least a few species that I can identify by ear alone. A tufted titmouse’s Peter, Peter, Peter, the loud, rolling rattle of a northern flicker, and a robin’s uplifting decree cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheerily, cheer up are among the handful of recognized tunes within my limited repertoire. Each of these I heard this week.

Birdsongs are the soundtrack of spring, and hearing them offers a chance to consider some of the most operatic performances. A red-eyed vireo’s concert can include more than 20 songs in a day; the brown thrasher draws from perhaps one of the bird world’s largest private music collections, owning as many as 2,000 distinct songs; a pileated woodpecker drums its bill at up to 15 beats per second—900 beats per minute. Diskcissels spend as much as 70 percent of a day singing.

The list of such amazing avian accomplishments could go on and on, and everyday scientists are making exciting discoveries—even finding new bird populations revealed by as little as a peep. There’s no telling what sweet melodies could float from a forest, wetland, or prairie.

Have you learned to identify some birds by ear? Share them here on The Perch, on Audubon Magazine’s Facebook page, and on Twitter using #birdaday. And be sure to keep broadcasting the birds you’re seeing. Even if you’re not participating in the Bird-A-Day Challenge, we want to hear from you. What follows is my updated list.

BIRD-A-DAY ?LIST
January 2012
New Year’s Day: Red-Throated Loon??
2nd: Greater Scaup??
3rd:Common Merganser? ?
4th: Black Duck??
5th: Red-shouldered Hawk?
6th: Canvasback?
7th: Northern Gannet?
8th:Lesser Scaup?
9th: Red-bellied Woodpecker?
10th: Brant?
11th: Fish Crow?
12th: Hooded Merganser?
13th: Northern Harrier?
14th: Pied-billed Grebe?
15th: Bonaparte’s Gull?
16th: Horned Grebe?
17th: Common Goldeneye?
18th: Dark-eyed Junco?
19th: Common Raven?
20th: Hairy Woodpecker
21st: Horned Lark
22nd: Snow Goose
23rd: Northern Mockingbird
24th: Black Vulture
25th: Great Cormorant
26th: House Finch
27th: White-Breasted Nuthatch
28th: Northern Shrike
29th: White-winged Scoter
30th: Turkey
31st: Bald Eagle

February
1st, Day 32: Golden-crowned Kinglet
2nd, Day 33: Northern Pintail
3rd, Day 34: White-throated Sparrow
4th, Day 35: Carolina Chickadee
5th, Day 36: Magnificent Frigatebird
6th, Day 37: Short-tailed Hawk
7th, Day 38: Reddish Egret
8th, Day 39: Roseate Spoonbill
9th, Day 40: White Pelican
10th, Day 41: White-winged Dove
11th, Day 42: Anhinga
12th, Day 43: Tundra Swan
13th, Day 44: Brown Creeper
14th, Day 45: Sharp-shinned Hawk
15th, Day 46: Gadwall
16th, Day 47: Bufflehead
17th, Day 48: Cardinal
18th, Day 49: Black Scoter
19th, Day 50: Fox Sparrow
20th, Day 51: Long-tailed Duck
21st, Day 52: Herring Gull
22nd, Day 53: Pileated Woodpecker
23rd, Day 54: Rufous Hummingbird
24th, Day 55: Blue Jay
25th, Day 56: Snowy Owl
26th, Day 57: American Tree Sparrow
27th, Day 58: Great Blue Heron
28th, Day 59: Common Grackle
29th, Day 60: Great Black-backed Gull

March
1st, Day 61: Ring-billed Gull
2nd, Day 62: Tufted Titmouse
3rd, Day 63: Common Loon
4th, Day 64: Mute Swan
5th, Day 65: Song Sparrow
6th, Day 66: Cooper's Hawk
7th, Day 67: American Robin
8th, Day 68: Northern Flicker
9th, Day 69: