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Araminta's picture

Every time I look up a bird in any book, I find descriptions of the calls they make. Are those commonly used? I find it very difficult to understand any of them, imagining what it sounds like. Like: shwek, chips and chunks, chick-a-click, tootsie cheer, or why did you get drunk (the chiming wegebill)?
So, what do you think? Can there be a description in words, and do you get them? To me none of them makes sense, if there would be notes I could play on the piano,(if I played the piano), that would make sense to me.
Any opinion on this? To me a chirp, chirp, tweet tweet, bop bop, or even a pib beep tweet, mean nothing. M-L

I have a lot of imagination, but most of the descriptions of birdsongs illude me.

Tazrandus's picture

If you try to record sound in words it can be a good note for yourself because maybe only you can understand them. To be honest I too never get those descriptions in books. Some field guides come with audio tracks for almost every birdcall which are a lot more helpful. But that is more expensive and time consuming. I wouldn't say literal description of bircalls in field guides are completely redundant because it does help in the ID-ing process. It might not sound exactly as it supposed to but it gives you some idea - only a little bit.
But hey, descriptions of birdcalls in words expressed even in posts here can still be recognised by experienced birders on the forum on the ID section :D But yeah, some descriptions for example the Willie Wagtail's call was supposed to sound like the words "sweet-pretty-creature!" according to a lot of sources but I never made that out lol if someone gets it please explain it to me :)


Owen1's picture

I can't really follow the sounds in the books. I find the best way to learn the call of a bird is to listen to a recording of it calling. Nothing beats that method!

Cheers, Owen.

Woko's picture

I'm with you guys. Those glzks, twerps & hello pretty boys are all in the ear of the beholder if you ask me.

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