[Tweeters] movie & TV bird songs off-topic-ish

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at protonmail.com
Sun Mar 20 10:16:15 PDT 2022

​Dear Tweeters,

Most birders know that the bird vocalizations used in the backgrounds of movies and TV shows typically fail to match up with the supposed locations. For example, the Red-tailed Hawk's scream can often be heard in the distance, as characters slog across African deserts or Asian steppes, even though that species would not be found in either of those places. California Quails pop up as well; I heard one while I was watching a Jason Bourne movie one time, as the secret agent was running around the grounds of a French mansion. So much for verisimilitude.

At our house, we get our TV from Dish Network. They have a fun little feature called "Dish Scape." The Scape lasts the whole calendar month; it is a scene with realistic-looking views that change very slowly, including sunset, night, and dawn. It makes for a relatively non-annoying backdrop, if one is willing to leave the TV on all day.

This month, there is a scene featuring a tree-house reminiscent of the one from Swiss Family Robinson. There are lots of "jungle" birds vocalizing in the background. I am pretty sure that I recognize a European Cuckoo's call. Some of the other calls sound very familiar to me, but I can't place them. It is driving me round the bend! Who knows what birds the engineers at Dish might have chosen!

There is one metallic-sounding call that I thought might have been one of the Tailorbirds, but I checked on Xenocanto, and it didn't match Common Tailorbird or Dark-necked Tailorbird. It is monotonous, but not as bad as the song of a Coppersmith Barbet.

The original novel was chock full of absurd wildlife placements, including tigers and anacondas on the same island, so maybe Dish wasn't too worried about getting the birds right. Even so, up to now, all of the birds I have noticed on these Scapes have been either correctly placed, or at least plausible.

Are there any Tweeters with Dish out there, who recognize any of the vocalizations playing this month?

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

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