[Tweeters] Starlings imitate Soras
vikingcove at gmail.com
Sun Apr 8 20:51:04 PDT 2018
Your timing is perfect.
Earlier this year, for the first time, I too watched starlings doing
perfect Sora imitations. Both times they were in Sora habitat here in
Yakima County -- once in reeds without another starling in sight, the other
time in a Willow tree on the edge of a slough. I'm fortunate in being able
to pinpoint bird locations by ear. I told several bird watcher friends
about it. It made me wonder how many times early reports of Sora were in
error, then wonder about in-season reports, including my own. Both times
the starling was imitating the "sora" call, not the "whinny". What I call
the "sora" call is what Sibley refers to as "kerwee".
And about your perfect timing: Today along Lateral C just north of
Toppenish Creek Mary & I heard the "whinny" call of a Sora repeatedly,
coming from the reeds, loud and clear even in the strong wind. Then it
switched to the "sora" call, occasionally doing a whiny. We never saw the
bird, but am pretty sure it was actually a Sora, and put it as such on my
checklist. (My audio recording was overwhelmed by wind noise.)
A couple of years ago, further into Sora season, Mary & I were listening to
and watching a Sora along Old Goldendale Road. It was very vocal, and often
visible, coming right onto the road. I began to wonder what was inspiring
it to be so loud and bold. Then I realized it was responding to a
Yellow-headed Blackbird across the road. Whenever the Yellow-headed
Blackbird took a break, so did the Sora. Though not perfect like the
starlings, part of the Yellow-headed Blackbird's vocalization sounded a lot
like a Sora. It got me wondering how many people have been fooled by that.
Selah, Yakima County, WA
On Sun, Apr 8, 2018 at 8:11 PM, Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear Tweeters,
> In three recent visits to the Fir Island Game Range (AKA Wylie Slough) in
> Skagit County, I have been unable to relocate a Sora that was reported a
> few days ago. I even resorted to playing recordings.
> Today, though, I did observe a Starling as it was performing a perfect
> imitation of a Sora calling. This was in a stand of dead trees about midway
> between the birders' blind and the camouflage-colored hunters' blind.
> Starlings imitate Soras around my house, so I am used to hearing them do
> this. At my place, the Starlings do a pretty good American Wigeon, too.
> Yours truly,
> Gary Bletsch
> Tweeters mailing list
> Tweeters at u.washington.edu
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