The next part of my introduction to learning bird songs is now up (click here).
Birds can hear a lot “faster” than we can, however, and consequently can extract a lot more information from the very rapid series of notes. The differences are there, and a Chipping Sparrow does not get confused by the songs of Pine Warblers or Dark-eyed Juncos. The key for the birder trying to identify these songs is to practice hearing the finer details. In most cases we can’t really hear the details of the individual notes, but we can hear the resulting “gestalt” differences in the overall tonal quality of the sound.