[Tweeters] Re: Two unusual calls in the backyard

Jonathan Bent bent.jonathan at gmail.com
Thu Jul 18 16:23:57 PDT 2013

I'll make this follow-up quick! Doug Schonewald has, I'm 99% sure, solved
the mystery of the second 5-note call. It's a slightly more energetic and
faster-than-usual Brown Creeper song. Several of the calls on Xeno Canto
(one in particular from the Antelope Valley: http://xeno-canto.org/131549 )
match my recording a lot better than the songs I have on my reference apps.
This ID appears to be supported by a sighting of a Brown Creeper on the
property yesterday--a first, though we hear them across the road all the
time. I'm ashamed I didn't make the connection myself, but that's how I
learn! Thanks Doug!

Jonathan Bent
Whidbey Island/Seattle

On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:30 AM, Jonathan Bent <bent.jonathan at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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!


> Best,

> Jonathan



> 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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