|The white-throated sparrows that have quietly spent the winter scratching in the underbrush are now bright faced and singing for spring. Click to enlarge. |
Birdwatchers make mnemonics to help them
remember bird songs, mnemonics that mimic the cadence and count the syllables
of bird songs. Black-capped chickadees seem to say chickadee-dee-dee
chickadee-dee-dee. Brown thrashers sound like they are saying drop
it, drop it, pick it up, pick it up. And chestnut-sided warblers politely
repeat pleased pleased pleased to meet cha!
White-throated sparrows sing something that
sounds like Po-or Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody, or O-old Sam Peabody
Peabody Peabody. North of the U.S. border I’ver heard people say it’s more like Oh sweet Canada Canada
Canada. The song is a loud, clear, attention-getting whistle that stands
out among the other sounds of spring: a long note, a lower note, a third even
lower note repeated in two or three sets of three.
People who know I’m a birdwatcher sometimes whistle
this song to me in spring, wondering what
they’ve heard. Rachel Maddow once recorded it on her Blackberry while walking
in the woods and played it on her news show, seeking identification. It is that
kind of sound.
This sentence links to a Cornell Lab of Ornithology recording
of a white-throated sparrow singing – click to hear the song.
|Not quite as flashy at other times of the year, but still cool. |