Monday, May 1, 2017


With the songbird migration wave expected in the next few days, bird sightings can be increased if you know their calls.

All printed birding field guides have phonetic
Yellow Warbler
voice descriptions (smartphone apps like Ibirds have recorded calls embedded in their descriptions). For example, the Sibley Guide to Birds of Eastern North America describes the call of the Yellow Warbler, a fairly common Sam Smith Park resident, as "swee swee swee ti ti ti swee"

Another approach might be to use mnemonics to assist memory and enhance voice recognition, a practice adopted by many experienced birders.  The call of the Yellow Warbler might be more easily remembered by the simple sentence "sweet, sweet, I'm so very sweet" - very apt for such a beautiful, charming and innocent little bird.

Listen to its actual call by clicking on this link.

There are really no "standard" bird call mnemonics although lists are available of commonly used ones.  Often made up and personal ones make the best, especially if you can attach a mental image to it as well.

There are also apps like iKnow Bird Songs to help you learn bird calls using flipcard and quizz techniques

Below are some examples of mnemonics to get you started.

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