Friday, June 23, 2006

Favorite Bird Songs

Back in April I made a list of the birds I thought were most beautiful and asked other bird bloggers to name their own. The result was a great response, with some bloggers challenging the idea of judging a bird's beauty, and others challenging the meme's North American bias.

Now I would like to do the corollary exercise, naming favorite bird songs. Birds enchant us not just for their visual beauty, but also for their many vocalizations - some harsh, some soothing, some delightful, some comical. Here are my favorites (numbered, but not ranked).

  1. Winter Wren: This tiny bird's song has appealed to me ever since I first learned it. It has the energy and complexity of most wren songs, but with an ethereal quality that makes it seem to have no earthly source.
  2. Veery: All thrush songs are beautiful, but the veery's is spectacular. I learned this song before I really started birding, though I did not know what it was at the time.
  3. House Finch: I associate this finch's song with the coming of spring, since it is one of the first that I hear singing in March in my urban neighborhood.
  4. Wood Thrush: This is the familiar thrush of DC's wooded parks. (And it is DC's "state" bird.)
  5. Yellow-rumped Warbler: The song itself is not remarkable, but I like it because it calls to mind early spring migration, when the birding possibilities seem limitless.
  6. Baltimore Oriole: Unlike other bird songs, where pattern is frequently the key, an oriole's song is distinctive for its clear flute-like quality.
  7. Cerulean Warbler: I would welcome hearing this buzzy, rising song more often.
  8. Red-shouldered Hawk: This bird's vocalization is not truly a song but a call. Yet I have it on my favorites list because red-shouldered hawks demand to be heard.
  9. Northern Mockingbird: I list mockingbirds in appreciation for their talent of mimicry. Listening to a mockingbird is like putting your bird song CD on shuffle.
  10. Field Sparrow / Prairie Warbler: It was hard to choose between these two, because I like both for the same reason - the optimistic bounciness of their songs. When I hear these songs early in the morning, I cannot help but think it will be a good day of birding.
Apologies to: White-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Towhee, and all other thrushes and warblers.

I am not tagging anyone with this, but if you would like to contribute your own thoughts, go right ahead.

Like this post? See also: