[Tweeters] Re: Two unusual calls in the backyard

Jonathan Bent bent.jonathan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 17 10:30:11 PDT 2013

Hi Tweeters,

Thanks for all the messages I've gotten so far with some good suggestions.
The most likely I've heard on the 2-note phrase is Red Crossbill, which we
have at our feeders daily. I haven't heard anything convincing (to my mind)
on the second 5-note phrase. I failed to mention, of course, the context of
this backyard for those who don't happen to live here! We are on a cliff
about 100 feet up, and 150 feet offshore of Saratoga Passage. Vegetation
between us and the water is thick brush--blackberry, madrona, some small
conifers. In the backyard itself, there is a stretch of lawn surrounded by
multiple tall Douglas Firs, a single Redwood, and a large madrona. We have
a few other deciduous trees, but those are in the front yard mostly. No
fresh water around to speak of.

Both calls came from high in the Douglas Firs, as best as I could tell,
which to my mind more or less rules out (nonetheless helpful!) suggestions
like Common Yellowthroat and Grasshopper Sparrow, whose songs I know well.
We do have a singing male Bewick's Wren (another good suggestion) in the
yard, but he seldom alights high up in the trees, and I'm fairly sure I
know his multitude of calls by now.

Thank you so much for the suggestions. Please keep them coming if you think
of anything else!


On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:21 PM, Jonathan Bent <bent.jonathan at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi Tweeters,


> Over the last few days in our backyard on Whidbey Island, I've heard two

> vocalizations that I don't recognize. One is a simple repeated two-note

> phrase, and the other is a very high-register 5-note phrase. Both have

> co-occurred with American Goldfinch calls. While I can believe the 2-note

> call could be an American Goldfinch, the 5-note song sounds too

> high-register (more like Chestnut-backed Chickadee or Townsend's Warbler

> range). After listening to a number of AMGO recordings on Xeno Canto, I

> can't come across anything like either of them. Of course, American

> Goldfinches are *always* the most vocal birds in our backyard, so it

> doesn't necessarily mean anything that they were calling at the same time

> as the bird(s) in question. One thing that strikes me about both

> vocalizations is that they repeat periodically, which is a pattern I don't

> typically associate with AMGOs. Recordings on Soundcloud below:


> https://soundcloud.com/jonathan-bent-1/unknown-2-note-song-whidbey

> https://soundcloud.com/jonathan-bent-1/unknown-5-note-song-high-range


> I took the recordings with my phone, but I have edited out background

> noise, boosted the treble and gain, and removed some dead air and dialogue

> to make them a bit easier to listen to. Check the descriptions to see the

> timing of the vocalizations within the recording.


> Please let me know if you have any ideas on IDs. Thanks in advance!


> Best,

> Jonathan Bent

> Whidbey Island/Seattle


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