Pitch is simply our perception of the frequency (or wavelength) of a sound, which we describe as high to low. Birds’ range of hearing is similar to our own, and bird song covers the full range to the limits of human hearing, from the lowest hooting sounds of Great Gray Owl or Spruce Grouse to the highest songs of Blackburnian Warbler or Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Most bird vocalizations are complex, and cover a wide range of frequencies, and there is often considerable variation in pitch within a species, making it hard to use pitch alone as an identification clue. Even so, the general pitch of a bird sound is useful for getting into the right “ballpark” for identification.
In the two examples here, the rhythmic pattern of the two songs is similar – a simple two-syllabled phrase repeated several times – and the quality of both could be described as “whistled”, but the pitch of the Black-and-white Warbler song is much higher.
More useful for identifying a species is the relative pitch of parts of a song – upslurred or downslurred notes, or changes in pitch over the course of a song. This requires some practice in order to develop a discerning ear. Many species have very abrupt or very subtle upslurs or downslurs that are helpful for identification but difficult to hear. Paying attention to pitch changes as you listen to bird songs will quickly increase your ability to detect these changes.
Listen to the phrases of this Northern Cardinal song. The notes at the beginning of the song are distinctly upslurred, and the notes after that are sharply downslurred. Try to follow along in the sonagram to get a better sense of the “shape” of each note. As you listen for these features in other songs your ability to hear them will improve.
The sonagram shown above accompanying the Cardinal recording is simply a graph of pitch over time. Time advances from left to right, and sounds with higher pitch appear higher on the graph. The first three notes (at the left) begin low and end high, while the following notes begin high and end low. To learn more about reading sonagrams check out Nathan Pieplow’s excellent series beginning at http://earbirding.com/blog/specs
Unlike the sharply slurred notes of the Cardinal, the song of White-throated Sparrow is a series of clear whistles with almost no change in pitch. This, and the longer notes (slower rhythm), gives it a much more “gentle” quality than the Cardinal. The song of Golden-crowned Sparrow is also a series of simple clear whistles, very similar to White-throated, but one or more of those whistles changes pitch, creating a very different song. In these two species, and most others, such patterns of pitch change are consistent and offer some of the most reliable “field marks” for song identification.
In this White-throated Sparrow song the first note is slightly higher but after that there is almost no change in pitch. In the Golden-crowned Sparrow song the first note is downslurred, not level, and each note after that is lower than the one before, creating an overall descending trend for the pitch of the whole song.
The next installment will cover time as an identification clue.
183 thoughts on “Pitch, and bird song identification”
What is the volume and pitch of black cockatoos
They have a loud squark as they fly over our house in a group and in a mob
They take great delight in bombing us with pine cones and honkey nuts.
daniel lane. your northern cardinal is a mockingbird. ive seen and heard them all my life. that is a mockingbird . northern cardinals just have a one note high pitched tweet.
No that is a cardinal.
ok. well then im wrong. the cardinals that make one sound around here (west tn) must not be northern. and the mockingbirds around here absolutely make that exact sound among others. guess thats why they call them mockingbirds. i would delete the comment if i could see how.
Post a video of a mockingbird singing that song and I’ll send u 100 dollars .
im 82 year old widowed grandmother. my grandchildren live an hour across kentucky.
My son is incarcerated. I dont have a movie camera and if i did i would not know how to use it nor would my hands have the strength to hold it still take a movie.
Cardinals sound different in different parts of their range. I moved from New York State, to Maine, then North Carolina, then South Carolina. The cardinals’ songs are slightly to very different in each of the four places! And we also have mockingbirds.
Isn’t that the whole idea of mocking birds? They ‘ mock’ other birds?
I moved from NY to GA and the cardinals sound the same to me. But they DO have several different sounds they make. One is a high-pitched piercing whistle, one is what I call birdy-birdy-birdy-birdy birdy, lowering it pitch as they go and one is kind of a two-toned whistle. All are very clear and loud and sharp. I’ve actually “talked” to them before, imitating them and they often come closer and answer back, especially to the birdy birdy birdy thing, which is almost always five sounds like that in a row.
I listened to the peewee and that’s NOT the bird I hear whistling here in GA. I’ve never heard the sound before and I call it like my Dad whistling for the dog. It about drove me crazy yesterday…it’s LOUD. I know lots of bird sounds but not that one. It’s WHEEP-wheep-wheep-wheep-wheep. The last 4 are shorter and quick and a bit quieter. And like I said, it’s very loud, easily heard INSIDE with NO windows open. At first I thought it was a person.
We all hear music a little differently…
I have never heard a mockingbird sing the same song repetively. Ever! And all male cardinals are a beautiful warm red while their female friends are rather drab. Obviously they work too hard! I have 2 pairs of bluebirds most every year. They stay busy building their nests & afterward a mystery bird somehow gets to the nest….& has their babies for dinner. We also have a barn owl & a hawk so maybe?????
And enjoying what someone else has said- or, to disagree in a friendly way can be interesting & pleasant, & sustains a conversation👍
Hence the name mockingbird. They music other birds songs. Lol. The example is definitely a northern cardinal.
That is a cardinal lol. Can i.have 5he 100 USD?
No reason to be rude – this is why more people don’t participate.
In my experience mocking birds do a long varied song of all sorts of birds at once. Not just one call. But, I do live in NYS. So they can be different.
Weeki wachee Florida here! We have a bird that sounds a little like a cardinal but has two whistle sounds and speaks all night.When I shine a flashlight at the sound it stops and moves to another location..can I play a bird noise of its predator to scare it to my neighbors..lol
And, its not a Cardinal, anyway.
What bird goes(high) Wheeeeeep (Tad bit lower)Wheeeep (fast)whep whep whep whep whep (faster)whep whep whep whep whep whep whep(really fast I lose count) whep whep whep whep whep whep whep (sometimes I count a 20th)whep..
Always starts outside my window at 4:48am every morning even when it’s raining. I do want to know what kind of bird this is. Any thoughts??
Yes, it is a cardinal, I have heard and seen them sing this song.
Koi have heard them for a year and just enjoying the song . Now am seriously curious as to what they are called . I live in knysna , if you don’t mind . Become an absolute favorite
Trying to ID a bird in Central Texas. It whistles 4 tones about a half second each and evenly spaced. The pitch sounds like “- – _ -“if the dashes and underline were whistles.
Hi Lane, My guess would be a Carolina Chickadee. They typically sing a few simple whistles on two or three different pitches. The pattern of pitch change varies a lot, but always just a few simply whistles in a steady rhythm.
I was just passing by and read Craigs’ comment to Sila. I really hope he’s not the author or the moderator of this site because he really is more than rude; disrespectful encompasses him. I won’t be coming back here so don’t bother to comment negatively on my remark, I won’t be reading it.
My Apologies to Sepi
What small bird has three notes that it repeats starting from high to low
It’s a cardinal absolutely
agreed – I have watched them as they sing this very song, but I guess a mockingbird could copy it?? idk
Cardinals have a wide range of vocalizations. My dad used to call them “Rain birds” because often, as a rainstorm is approaching, their cry sounds like: “wet-dew! wet-dew! wet-wet-wet-wet-wet-dew!” It took many years for me to realize how versatile their sound is.
Mockingbird can certainly sing a cardinal sound too! They are beautiful to listen to.
It’s most definitely a cardinal.
What bird makes a short “zzt” sound .
Yes, that is absolutely a cardinal.
Hello, I live in north Louisiana almost in Arkansas last night and for many nights I’m hearing a night bird very loud and has five distinct notes, the first two are low, then high then two more like high running into lower any idea, I’ve gone through all the bird’s that sing churp at night on the net it’s none of the obvious ones like a owl or one of those northern singers Thanks James
Cardinals have other types of calls too, Beside that one note call.
Our cardinals have far more than a single note. They have a variety of calls, one that sounds like “beatchu beatchu beatchu” and another that is more melodious rising and falling, a dozen notes over two seconds or so.
Disagree. I have sat in my backyard every morning for over a month and those are two birds that nest here. Mockingbirds do not stop and repeat a 4 or 5 note pattern. The mockingbird in my yard sings a continual strand of different songs they can learn up to 200 songs. Now the cardinals that nest here all I have heard is a chirp or tweet. Just now I have seen “Daniels” cardinal. And yes, it is a cardinal. Maybe your cardinals have an accent! I am finding out that Birds can sound different in different parts of the country. Same basic patterns but different tones.
Mockingbirds can probably mock cardinals but I have watched cardinals sing exactly like Daniel Lane’s recording. Sometimes cardinals just sing the up pithed long notes, sometimes the short down notes and sometimes combining the 2 just like above. And some variations of the notes. I think they sound like a space game ray gun sometimes.
Is the one note high pitched tweet a waxwing?
Hi, I’m looking for a bird that goes ‘tweeee toot toot’ from the interior Pacific Northwest? I’ve been whistling it’s song randomly for so long and I just realized I have no idea which one it is. Thank you!
That is definitely a northern cardinal. I too have heard them all my life. The make other sounds than this, but this sound is especially associated with them. The northern cardinal is the bird of my home state, Virginia. Check any database, check on YouTube. That is a cardinal.
What bird sounds like it says Rive, rivet?
That’s so funny. I’m sitting outside thinking what bird goes rivet rivet at night. Now thanks to your post I realize of course it’s frogs. Thanks.
I live in Michigan and that is how a cardinal sounds here.
In NE GA, a flock of light colored birds who called as they flew. Any ideas?
They are cool birds but not the right sounds the golden-crowned crow is the closest tho thanks so much for the help I appreciate it
I’m a musician and audio professional, so it’s natural for me to use bird sounds. Thanks for the handy tips! One of the most confusing things, at least for beginners, is that the same bird will sometimes make a bunch of very different sounds. It took me weeks to realize that some of what I thought were different birds was just the good old Robin!
The Mockingbird, of course, can really add to the confusion until you learn what’s going on…
An interesting thing about the mimic thrushes concerns the songs of the 3 we have in the east; Northern Mockingbird, Gray Catbird and Brown Thrasher. Using the Mockingbird as a base singing the same short song 3 times, 2 repeats, the Brown Thrasher repeats once and the Catbird sings a single song even though there are obvious similarities among the songs. And the Brown Thrasher has many more variations than the other two.
I live along the ocean in New Jersey and previously lived in Pennsylvania. I’m fairly certain the bird I’m trying to ID is not a seabird, as I’ve spent a lot of time at the shore over the past few decades and l’ve never before heard this sound, here or anywhere else. There are lots of non-seabirds here. It is a VERY shrill, VERY loud one-note whistle, lasting one second, delivered back-to-back with a second in-between, then ten seconds of silence, then two more, then it’s heard in the distance. Doesn’t stick around long. I hear it in the morning and afternoon, started about March. Never been able to get a look at any suspects. Nothing I’ve heard on Youtube or birding sites is even close. There is a bird sanctuary a few miles away. Any thoughts?
My guess: Red-winged blackbird
Looking for a bird that is a distinct lower pitch, not repetitive. If you are a musician it is a broken chord in a minor key. the third, then fifth, then the one. ei minor triad C chord e flat, G, C. No tscreeches just a pure 3 note triad
Maybe an Eastern Towhee?
A two-tone whistle, pretty much C to C#, repeated three times.
Same calling back and forth across suburban yards in Long Island NY, hours on ens
My guess is Tufted Titmouse … peter, peter, peter
It is not a Towhee. I have been trying to find out which bird this is myself. Any luck??
How do u know your birds u sound as if your a scientist😅
I am trying to figure out which bird makes a whistle sound the same way humans whistle for their dogs????
Me too, Sharon, I thought it was someone signalling to a sheepdog to begin with but just seen a brown bird flying next to a crow and heard it clearly. Bird was too far away to identify…
I heard one today whistling like a human whistling a 8 note tune. It is not a Cardinal. I have been around Cardinals all of my 66 years!
The posts above are old and I see nothing that answers the questions. I’m a long time bird watcher with bird feeders all over my yard and this is a totally new sound to me. Sounds EXACTLY like you’re whistling for your dog…..no more no less. I couldn’t see it in the trees but seemed much too loud to be a small bird. I’m in southern New Jersey and sure hope someone can figure this out.
Hi Jeanette, I can’t think of a bird that sounds exactly like a dog whistle. One possibility that comes to mind is the first note of some Northern Cardinal songs – a sharp rising whistle “wheet”. That sound is usually given two or three times (but sometimes just once), and then followed by a rapid series of shorter whistles. Sometimes the shorter whistles are so different from the intro that you can hear them as a separate bird, and then struggle to identify the source of the isolated intro notes.
I live in Ohio. I hear that one note “dog whistle” everywhere I go. Some tried to tell me it was a groundhog whistle. It’s definitely not. they don’t whistle that much. Could it possibly be the first note of an Eastern Tohee? I don’t think so but there are usually Tohees present when this happens. The first note just doesn’t sound the same.
I listened to the Wood Peewee sound. It does sound like it but I never hear a Peewee around giving a normal sound when I hear the single note. I’m also hearing it now and the WP isn’t even back in this area yet. I’m going crazy wondering!
“Dog Whistle” bird call mystery. Check out this site and see if this is what you hear. I’m pretty satisfied that it’s the one!!
This shows the bird with the call I’ve been hearing for several years like a dog whistle.
I cannot thank you enough! We just had a big snow and ice storm here in North louisiana. I got to see my first Eastern Towhee on the ground. I have been trying for the last 6 months to identify the single clear rising whistle call and match it to a bird online. Never have I had any success until now! When I followed the link you provided, and it showed the video of the Eastern Towhee singing this call, I was a static. It matches perfectly. Thank you again!
Male chickadee, maybe? Don’t see their range extending to southern New Jersey, but they are in the north part of the state. There’s a video /sound bite of one one YouTube under “Black Capped Chickadee”.
This is exactly what I’m hearing the past few nights here on the shoreline in CT. I remember hearing it about a year ago in the early AM.
Someone just answered me on Facebook’s Connecticut Birds and I think they are right. Great Crested Flycatcher! Let me know what you think!
I don’t know if this helps at all, but as soon as you said “like whistling for a dog”, I thought eastern wood-pewee. Let me know if this is right!
Your suggestion of eastern wood-pewee in my case is spot on. The call is precisely that of the bird I’ve been trying to ID. Thanks very much
I am trying to find out the same…that’s the only way to describe it, too…someone whistling for a dog. In fact, when I imitated it for my husband, my dog came running!
I live in southwestern Ontario, and I have been hearing this sound for the last couple of summers. Never heard it before this, and I’ve been in the same place for 33 years now. It sounds just like someone whistling for their dog. I sure wish I knew what bird it was, it’s driving me crazy not knowing!
We summer on the St John river on the Kingston peninsula and have had the dog whistling bird for years. It responds whenever I whistle but I still can’t see what it is. I’ll check out the Pewee.
That sure sounds like it!
Same here.. Its like a dog whisthling sound.. I luckly found it.. It was a small brown and white owl.. The whisthle sound came from above me. (i’m under the tree checking the water for the dogs.) there i flash my light up in the tree and found an owl.. Trying to find what species but no luck in google.
Listened to the Great Crested Flycatcher and that has the right rhythm with one of the calls, but not quite the same quality to the sound…it’s not quite a whistle to me.
The first sound on the various angry calls selection down the page a ways. Is there some good site for bird sounds anyone knows of? I just found this site looking for an answer. It would be great to be able to post recordings. And I’m not sure how to post here other than hitting reply…like a starting comment I mean, not a reply.
Thrashers do that here in Northern Arizona. Thought I had rude neighbors until I caught the culprit in my yard. They have a beautiful song as well when they’re not ‘whistling’.
Curve-bill thrasher to be exact. Here is a site https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Curve-billed_Thrasher/sounds
Under the calls, you’ll find the whit-wheet sound.
There must be more than one bird with that ‘rude’ whistle:) We are pretty far north of you. Once we checked out the Peewee we managed to see them.
No, mine isn’t the pewee or the thrasher.
I am trying to identify a bird that is making my dog crazy, its one long note which sounds like several tones at once, high pitched near a dog whistle. It repeats over and over morning and evenings and my poor older dog hates it, living in the northwest here and have heard it in the mountains too but can’t seem to find its song online..
Finally answered it myself: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Varied_Thrush/sounds
Thank you! I have been wondering about this one too.
am trying to identify a bird song that at first sounded like a crow or a jay, but doesn’t match either. It has three gradually ascending note, then five quick descending one. Any help? I live in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.
Did you ever find this bird? I was wondering the same thing. They are all over the place in San Francisco, but cannot spy one.
We have some visiting birds that make a a two-syllabled sound; the first is a short up-slurred followed by a long down-slurred whistle type of call. The birds look grayish and are larger than a mockingbird. Wings have a slight down-curved shape. Any ideas?
Hi Darlene, I’m happy to help but I’ll need a little more to go on. The best thing would be a recording of the call, and any smart phone should be able to get an identifiable recording, or use the video mode on a digital camera (and you could upload a recording through the “contact” tab above). If that’s not possible then some other details of where you are, the habitat, and what the birds were doing (in trees? on open ground? in a flock, etc.) might offer the clue that leads to an ID.
I’m new to birding and am trying to identify a bird that sings every night outside my window in NYC. It sings a leaping interval somewhere between a fourth and a fifth. Sometimes it does it just once (higher note, lower note). Other times it sings a series of triplets (low-high-low, low-high-low, low-high-low). I’ve looked up the most common birds in NYC and it doesn’t match any of their songs. It’s also not any of the usual suspects at my bird feeder (starlings, blue jays, mourning doves, pigeons and sparrows) and I never hear it during the day… Does anyone have any leads??
Eliza, I know this is super old, but I’m here searching for an ID based on notes and saw your question.
I’m in GA, but it sounds like you’re describing a bird that took me forever to ID. If it almost has a car alarm sound, it is likely a Chuck-Will’s-Widow. I believe they are in your area too.
I hear mine on and off throughout the night and stops just before sunrise. I live in a heavily wooded area with just a few neighbors, some with large fields and a lake. If that sounds like a possibility, YouTube has some excellent examples.
From coastal NC, hearing new bird this AM. A repetitive two syllable loud, “Ru-by” call. It is new to me and I can not see the bird. Thanks
Is it a very clear almost whistle and kind of plaintive? First note is higher pitched than second sound? Could be an Eastern Phoebe. But saying RUBY makes me question that…Phoebe is just 2 clear ringing “notes” to me, but more like it’s saying “Phee-Bee”.
From augusta GA, I’ve been trying to identify a bird with a call like “cheer-ee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-dee-cheer” any help?
Might be a chicka dee
I thought chickadee too. Actually, a tufted titmouse can sound just like a chickadee, though it’s sort of buzzy sounding. Both also do a two-toned, high note then lower, like DEE-dee…or a dee-dee-dee. They are related birds.
Hi! I could sure use some help! I’ve been trying for days to identify this bird call, but with no success. I heard a bunch of these calling back & forth in the live oak trees at the edge of a green belt in south Austin, Texas. I could never see anything, but the call was so distinctive: pePEW pePEW pePEW twit twit twit twit twit twit twit. Three of the first sound (falling slightly on the second syllable), seven of the second sound (a lower pitch and all the same).
Thanks for any help anyone can give!
Sorry, my mistake: there are only *two* pePEWs in the above call, not three. The rest is correct.
Boy, that sure sounds like another cardinal “song” to me. Very clear piercing kind of sound? Cardinals have very clear ringing bell-like sounds to me, or whistles. But my recollection is, the the pe-pew sound (as you put it) is the pe part is quicker and the pew is a touch drawn out and louder and I thought slightly higher pitched. And I thought the 3 in a row was more correct.
Some great cardinal sounds here:
try the 2nd “song” clip on the page.
I heard something, I’m assuming it was a bird of some kind, between 6 and 7 am this morning. Its call consisted of three notes. It would make that three-note call and then nothing. Then a few minutes later, again. I have gone through my cd of bird calls and also checked on the internet trying to identify it. I didn’t know the call of the whip-poor-will and imagined that maybe this was it but I checked and it wasn’t.
Any ideas? I live in southern Ontario near a wetland and a forest. Farm fields around as well.
Very similar situation. Not sure if we are hearing the same song, but what I am hearing, all day, is this:
three notes, all high-pitch and pleasant sounding, high-low-medium, then a long pause, and two more notes, high-medium. Have not seen the bird, but I hear it all day every day. I’m in New York state, mid- Hudson Valley.
The first part reminds me of a person whistling for a dog.
Alexander – your description fits Eastern Wood-Pewee. Their song is a high clear whistle, slurred down and up in pitch, and alternating a three-syllabled “pee-a-weee” with a two-part ”pee-aaa”.
I’ve been hearing a bird call for years and it’s only been recently that I actually saw the bird that makes it. I live in Lakewood, CO and I saw it fly from one tree to another. I couldn’t make out colors, but I think it was about the size of a North American Robin and had dark-tipped wings and a dark, crested head. I only saw it for a couple seconds while it was flying.
The call is unusual, and I’ve scoured the internet trying to find it, but to no avail. The rhythm goes “tweedle-deedle . . . tweedle-deedle” and there are only two notes being repeated, a C#–50 to an A#–47. So it goes like this (in the tweedle-deedle format), “C# 50 to A# 47 (repeat) . . . C# 50 to A# 47 (repeat)”. You can actually play it on the piano, if you want to hear it. The fact that I can’t find this bird call anywhere has been really frustrating and I’d love to know what it is. Anyone have an idea?
The visual description fits Steller’s Jay, and the sound you describe could match one of their calls. A recording of one variation is here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Cyanocitta-stelleri?dir=0&order=cnt&pg=5
I tried listening to the calls of the Steller’s Jay, but nothing fit. Do you have any other ideas?
Please somebody tell me what bird says mou mou ricky rick ricky
I also want to know what bird says “Ricky, Ricky, Ricky, Ricky”. It always says it 4 times. The first syllable is emphasized and “y” is subtle and falls off.
I hear this bird every summer in northern Florida (around High Springs) during an annual camping trip. It sings in the morning. It always gives me a smile.
It’s not a Cardinal. I am familiar with the Cardinal’s repitoir and I know they have different dialects. This “Ricky bird” is different.
I wish I had tried to record it on my phone. Maybe next year.
I also want to know what bird this is—I’m in WV did you ever find out what type the Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky bird is??
Has there been a reply to what bi “Ricky, Ricky, Ricky, Ricky”? I live in Ohio and my husband are trying to identify.
White throated sparrows are the dominant song heard here where I live in northern Alberta from May to late September. I’m curious about their two distinct versions of song, a high note followed by several lows, or a low note followed by several highs – is one call answering another, or do the two versions of song each have their own meaning?
Hello, I was just in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana, camping on the edge of a forest in a meadow near a river, and an hour after dawn, heard a bird call that ascended then descended in “whoos.” Whoo whoo whoo whoo whoo whoo – almost like someone was playing a slide whistle– might it have been an owl – a barred owl?
Sounds like a Barred Owl. It sounds like they are saying “Who cooks for you?” when they hoot.
The thing is, Barred Owls don’t change their pitch, as Julia describes. The “slide whistle” effect she mentions. I have no idea what it could be, though!
Barred owl is “who cooks for you, who for cooks for you all”, though they don’t always do the 2nd part. If they do, the you-all is you, then descending pitched drawled all. Can be almost growled.
So, I live on the edge of woods, with open farmland across the road. I have birds that sing all day long, and have a song of mostly twice repeated notes in this pitch sequence: mid-mid-low-low-high-high-low-low-mid-mid-mid-low-low-mid-mid-then sometimes an ascending whistle, sometimes truncated, but always that order. They like to sing perched on the power line by the road but are skittish and fly back into the woods at the first sight of me. So, I haven’t gotten the best view, they may look kinda dark, like a starling in size, with possibly a small crest. Songs resemble indigo bunting but they’re bigger and not blue.
Oh yeah, it’s relevent that this is in central Illinois
Thanks for helping us identify the Peewee earlier this summer! We are on a large property beside the St John river in New Brunswick, Canada. There is a bird here that makes a sound like a young child saying hello: he-woo, he-woo. It is somewhat low pitched with the ‘he’ about five tones higher than the ‘woo’.
It is so distinct and makes a laugh every time. We have lots of crows and that is always what I see when I hear it, but is it possible they can do this? Any ideas?
Maybe a tufted titmouse! And yes, they can sound like that.
I live on Long Island. Recently in my backyard, which has a lot of high weeds and tall wheat-like grass behind my fence, I’ve started to hear a bird call that sounds like some sort of an alarm-type sound. Starts low, then the pitch rises up high and then just stops after 4 or 5 calls. And there is more than one of them in there. I have quite a variety of sparrows, cardinals, and finches around but I have yet to see any of them fly into or out of that area. Whatever it is, it is hidden in the weeds, but the sound is so high-pitched that you can’t miss it. Wish I could post a recording of it. Anyone have any ideas?
For the past few days a “new” bird has been hiding in my trees — it’s song,which is very distinctive, according to my son is the A Major scale. Can anyone identify it? Thanks.
Wow! I’ve spent the past thirty years wondering which bird sand that haunting little song outside my window, and you have it right here! A golden-crowned sparrow. Thank you so much!!
I had no idea that a bird’s range of hearing was similar to that of humans. After reading this, I can understand why it would be interesting to study the different sounds of birds and be able to listen to them when you are outside. My mother-in-law has a couple birds as pets. I’ll have to ask her if she’s studied bird noises.
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There’s a bird that’s been visiting my yard (Atlanta, GA). I haven’t been able to get a good look at it, but it’s song sounds exactly like the first 4 notes of the melody of the theme song to tv show Sanford and Son. I have been listening to audio files for several days and can’t find anything similar. I’ve seen people in other bird blogs describe the bird call the same way, also with no luck at identifying. Any ideas?
Ugh, no replies! I’ve been trying to figure this out too! Just like Sanford and sons!!!!!
Well, that really amazes me. I don’t watch it, so how does the slide whistle go? My only guess (and the probability of this happening would be really low) a mockingbird beard the slide whistle, and thought that would be a good one for his repitition!!! Sorry about that joke. I will look up some birds and actually try to figure it out.
Hello. I’ve been trying to figure out for years what the bird sound is at the end of the Dawn scene in Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. It’s so beautiful and I can’t find which bird it is. Could somebody please watch the scene on YouTube and tell me what the bird is? It’s much appreciated thank you.
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Does anyone know the name of birds that whistles 3 times with such beautiful but simple melody? I can’t find the name of it anywhere
John Bob, did you ever find out what bird this is? I think I have been hearing it in magnolia, Delaware. I have searched for more than a year. I don’t hear it a lot, but the song is so sweet, medium pitched, one long sound(about 2 seconds) split tone descending, 2 short single tones of the first tone in the long sound.
There is s bird that sings to me just about every other morning. I recently lost my 19 year old daughter to a drunk driver in a fatal car crash…In some strange way I feel connected to this birds song as if it was kortlynn waking me up to some beautiful song. I think this maybe her way of speaking to me. It is a very distinctive whistle that goes pee-wee- weeeee but its more drawn out. Like pee-ee- wee’ ee. Can anyone help me? What is this bird called?
Is it this? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CDxdSlf2oag
Hmm…Pee ee wee wee… It might be a male chickadee calling for a girl! If you have time you can look up. Sorry i dont have a link for you. I am trying to id a bird too!
Trying to id a bird song. 4 notes med-med-low-med. All med notes same pitch. Low note slightly buzzy. (I guess it could also be high-high med-high). Not sure of describing pitch ranges. Each note about same length, steady speed. Repeated this series of 4 notes again and again. Similar genre to white-throated sparrow? Heard in the month of May in mixed forest near a lake. Was in Haliburton Highlands, part of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence forest region of south- central Ontario. Thanks for any suggestions.
Definitely a cardinal, I am looking at the annoying thing right now. I looked this up because it won’t shut up.
I live in the Seattle area, and there’s a bird I hear often that has a two note song. The pitches are closest to E natural then E flat, a simple tone, and if you put it to music in a 3/4 time signature, it sounds like an eighth note followed by a dotted quarter note, then a quarter rest. Can anyone identify the bird for me? thanks!
I think I figured that one out! Black Capped Chickadee 🙂
Meant to add a link. You can find the Black Capped Chickadee song on this page: http://northwestbirding.com/BirdSongs/index.html
The bird I am looking for can be heard in the background of the Northern Cardinal recording, above. It sounds like potato potato potato, but I have also heard the variation pacheeto pacheeto. Can anyone help? Thank you so much this has been driving me nuts!
Any luck on this? I have them around my yard (never actually seen them) & I can’t find the answer. I’ve just been calling them potato birds! Lol
It is a tufted titmouse!!! You are so lucky! We want them over here but so far, none.
I keep hearing (ie. I believe this is very common in Ontario and Quebec at least) a bird that sounds almost exactly like the white throated sparrow. The difference is that the triple ‘warble’ that the sparrow ends with isn’t the same sound I hear. Instead these notes are a drawn out, solid sound and there may be four such notes.
So, I’ve seen the sparrow song identified as ‘poor sam peabody peabody peabody’ and what I think I am hearing is poor sam peeeeee, peeeeee, peeee, peee.
IS there such a thing?
I am in Switzerland now and there is a very loud common blackbird here called an Amsel. They also copy other birds’ sounds …. and more. So there is a place where they often have small festivals and many of those feature “Latin” cultural things (Spanish & Latin American). I am a skilled musician with a highly trained “ear” … and I heard an Amsel there loudly whistling Latin Jazz, with all the correct inflections & slurs and even “riffing” on it (improvising).
Very impressive and enjoyable
Though this is a European species I know that as LOT of Latin music was inspired by the natural bird sounds they’d hear in or near the jungles. One time I placed a microphone near one of my very smart Budgies who was extremely musically gifted (at 4.5 months old he self-learned the first part of Ellington’s “Take The A-Train” which has 11 of the 12 tones) and played a recording of some Cuban Jazz. When I played it back I couldn’t hear him. Confused, I listened more carefully and found that on top of or along with the 3 separate instrumental melody lines in the piece …. he’d added a new FOURTH highly professional, artistic and non-conflicting melody. If anyone cares he was a Cancer Dragon (born July 2000), which statistically correlates with focus, diligence, and artistry 🙂
The free Windows audio editor Audacity has a nice recorder and spectrograph option built in and is just a great program in general. All kinds of effects and analysis. Can record from youtube. etc.
trying to identify a whistle ,…long ..and at a even pitch…more like a human whistle..than that of a bird..only happens in the dead of night…therefore it must be an owl? we have owls here but they make the obvious hoot-hoot sound,..this other sound is something I’ve never heard before…I live in the Santa Cruz mountains in northern California,…I have listened to various recordings of different owls,..but they are not what I’m hearing.
Maria, is it possible that it’s a Common Poorwill?
I’m in west Georgia, but your description sounded a lot like the Chuck Will’s Widow we have. When I looked to see if they were in your area and saw they weren’t, I listened to the Poorwill link here that is on the west coast, and they’re calls are extremely similar.
whistles at night
Banded pigeon (or something like that, but yes it is a pigeon, i dont remember name clearly). It is surprising that the sound is made by a pigeon.
Northern Illinois, wooded wetland habitat (heavy tree cover near a pond) I heard a very unique 2-syllable (or would you call it 2-note): “sqauw-BEEEP!”
I’ve never heard it that I can remember & I’m a fairly advanced birder. I could not find the bird – it didn’t seem to be high up in the tree. Kind of mid-level 10′ high or lower.
Yep. Common grackle. We also hear them over here. At least i think so. Look the grackle sound up if you can.
I have a bird in my backyard and it makes a sound sort of like er errrrrrrr and idk what it is and it sounds weird and i wanna know what it is can you help me?
Central AR here…I can always tell when the male Cardinals come 2 the birdfeeder. Early am and pm b4 dark. He most always makes the same sound…2me, it’s like very loud “ClicKs”, or “Chips”. Not chirp or tweet…just Click/Chip.
A long time ago, in western Washington state, I heard but never saw a bird that went “chip chip chipEE”, with the EE two notes higher than the chip chip chip. I have never been able to identify it and it has haunted me now for over 25 years. If anyone in here knows, I would be so grateful if you would tell me! Thank you.
Correction: sorry…The EE is actually 5 notes higher. My bad.
Hi. I’m Northern California, mountains/woods. I’m looking for a bird. He whistles: deeee-do-do. Then another will echo. They are perfectly timed. I sing with them, it gets more to come. As they join in, the trees will fill with song, but no one is out of sync. I cannot figure out what bird it is.
I had a second bird in Tennessee. He whistles: do-de-do-do. Highs and lows. I replied the same. But this bird repeated 4 to 6 times, then trilled for a moment before repeating his whistle song again.
The first bird is a black capped chickadee. The second bird… You bave a real pretty song on your hands, but it may be a baltimore oriole. Just maaaay. I am not an expert birder yet, but you can look that up. The black capped chickadee males sing a song like, Heeeey, sweetie to find a mate. Some people say it sounds like cheeseburger, but Heeeeey sweetie is what it’s used for, isn’t it? These little birds are sometimes confusing. I am thinking the baltimore oriole though.
So, i’ve been hearing a bird that is weird. It sounds like Tip!Tiptiptipittipittipit for a song and then they do a Tip! TiptiptipitBZZZZ! for a call. I seriously have no idea. I have been looking this up all morning, and it never came up! The birds are brown with white tips of the tails and wings. No crest. The birds sing this fun, playful song to each other in the trees. Starlings, maybe? They sound a little like a house sparrow female calling her mate (that jumbled, pipped call that you hear from them) but higher and less chattery. They were flying into the trees, and as soon as the two i saw flew into the tree, the whole tree erupted in the song! It is pleasant. So, what do you think? I clearly love this song, and as the mystery is fun, i would like to know what this song is.
Oh by the way I hear it in the morning. On the northeastcoast. We have a lot of trees so maybe a forest bird.
Ok. It is an eastern kingbird.
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Long clear single note, all times of day. In 57 years in WI I’ve never heard it before until 2 weeks ago and now it’s all the time. Sounds like tweeeeeeeeeeeee. It is a very long, single note. No trill, very clear. Help!
it does work
Hi I’m Oshanna,
A while back I was taking a walk and I heard a bird call I’ve never heard before. No matter how much I search I can’t find the name of this bird. It’s not a chickadee, and it was definitely alone.
The call started with a C#6 and ended with either a D6 or G6 pitch, with long pauses in between each call. I haven’t heard it since. Can anyone help me? I was in Waterloo, Ontario if that helps. Winter time.
Hello…I’m dying here lol I know pretty much out bird sounds here in Illinois but this one i have never heard before, it sounds like someone blowing steadily for about 5 second lightly into a whistle….whenever I hear this sound I look and it seems like it might be a smaller bird because them it flies away….its pretty fast. I’ve been looking online and on YouTube just to see if I can hear it….sometimes it sounds almost like part of a warblers call….we so get those here….thanks for your help.
Trying to identify this birdsong! I recreated it on the computer, but it sounds almost exactly like this. Very clear and sweet. Sometimes faster than this, but always this sequence:
In the Seattle area, I hear a bird every spring and summer, April to August. It sings from the very top of a tree, and all I can see is a silhouette, robin sized or smaller. The song is distinct. 3 clear whistled notes, the first 2 the same and the last much higher with a “question mark” at the end. The song lasts about 1 second, and repeats after 10-20 seconds. As a mnemonic I think of “pret-ty please?” No luck with audio guides.
What bird has about 7 sound pitches
New bird song yesterday morning. As soon as I opened the back door it stopped, and I haven’t heard it since.
It starts with a long (decending?) buzz, then a somersault of three or so notes, and
ends with 3-5 identical short notes.
What type of bird makes a deep, 8-toned ascending call in the middle of the night (around 4 am)? Sounds like an owl but I’ve searched calls from various owls and can’t find a match. Just heard it repeat for about 10 minutes with the same call and then change its call for about 1 minute and leave. Living in northern Virginia, if that helps narrow the region.
I live in the central Shenandoah Valley and we have been hearing a bird that honks. It’s in a tree, not flying over. Does anything other than a goose honk?
Hi! Can anyone help me identify the bird with a clear 4 note whistled call, overall descending? First is the highest note, then a lower note; the third note is slightly higher in pitch than the second, and the last note is the lowest pitched. Each note is fairly long. There is no warbling or trilling. I have heard this song many times in central Indiana.
Did you ever figure this one out? I’m struggling to find the bird myself, northeastern Illinois.
What orange or yellow bird in northeastern Ohio makes a two tone call that is low to high, with a slight pause between the two notes. The interval is a minor third and the bird will do it for a good five minutes at a time. Cannot find this sound online. Very clear sound.
This summer I’ve been hearing the most elusive bird: a medium high pitch, clear and strong, ‘swee swee swee” sometimes one or two notes, sometimes as many as four. I have been trying to catch a glimpse/photo of it but it seems to avoid human presence. It will call several times in a row, and then move suddenly in a new location, over and over. It’s quite loud, and never varies in tone or volume.
This is New Hampshire, and we are in a heavily wooded area with adjacent open fields.
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Thanks so much for this! I now know that what I think of as the “ultimate springtime bird call” is the White-throated Sparrow! That song captivates me each and every spring here in South Carolina. They may sing this all year (probably do) but it is mostly in spring that I notice it! It seems to be singing of Easter.
Can anyone tell me what bird might make one low tone sound then three higher pitched ones? I’m in Arizona. I’ve heard this call before but I don’t recall where. It’s not a song I’ve heard here before.
Very early in the morning (about 3 am) I hear a very human sounding “foot” or “choot”. It is quite clear but it also seems to sound quite far away. It makes this sound only once every few seconds. I live in a smallish city near sacramento.
Hi! I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I have recently heard a bird song around where I live, that I have never heard before. I haven’t been able to see the bird to identify it though. It’s a lovely tune, in a clear, piping sound. I can only describe it using the do re mi notes. It sounds like: so so-so-so me me-me-me do, do, do, do, re Can anyone help me identify this mystery bird? Thanks, CathyG
I live in New England and there’s 1 bird with a call that sounds like, “cognac, cognac, cognac”, but kind of pronounced like “coney-ack.” What kind of bird is that???
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