Bird Song Hero: The song learning game for everyone
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Bird Song Hero: The song learning game for everyone

August 31, 2019


Here’s your chance to become a birdsong hero
by playing the bird song ID game that starts from square one and trains you
how to visualize and remember the songs that catch your attention but, don’t
always stick. Time to show what you’re made of
and become a better birder at the same time. First let’s get you trained. Birders
get up before dawn, not just because there’s that kind of obsessed but, also
because that’s when most birds are singing their hearts out. This Northern
Cardinal song is a common early morning sound across much of the U.S. so you might
already recognize it. What’s amazing is that the bird is performing impressive
feats of vocal gymnastics with those repetitive whoops
spanning more pitches in a piano in just a tenth of a second. Visualizing a
cardinal song helps you fully appreciate the vocal genius. Here on this
spectrogram you see time from left to right and pitch from high to low and the
brighter it is, the louder. Spectrograms stimulate the visual parts of our brain
and help us commit song patterns to memory that’s why many birders use them. Now that you’ve got the basics, you’re
ready to train your visual brain with birdsong hero.
To get started we’ll play this Tufted Titmouse song three times. While you
listen, compare the three spectrograms and decide which one is the correct
match. Then we’ll reveal the answer. Here goes: And here comes the answer: the
correct answer is B, titmice repeat the same notes in a series. Compare that with
A; notice how the American Redstart changes things up at the end? And C, the
Mourning Dove starts with a little flourish. Now let’s try the Carolina
chickadee. Ready? The correct answer is A. Carolina chickadees sing four distinct notes that step down and pitch. Let’s hear the others for comparison.First B:
the Verdon sings four notes but keeps them all at roughly the same pitch. and now C: the Golden Crown Sparrow steps down in pitch but only sings three notes. Now try the Eastern Meadowlark. Ready for the answer? This time it’s B. Eastern Meadowlarks’
songs have big pitch sweeps and a nice rhythm. Compare that with A. The Eastern
Wood Peewee sings without any rhythmic breaks. And C, the Black-Capped
Chickadee has a compact song with no pitch sweeps. Here’s something a little more complex:
The Carolina Wren. And the correct spectrogram is, A. This Carolina Wren
repeats its pattern five times. In B the In B, the Common Yellow-Throat only repeats its
pattern three times. And in C, the Painted Bunting song is overall, a little
less organized. Now for the final question listen to the
song of a Wood Thrush. It goes by fast but, it has a lot of character. Did you get it? It’s C. Wood Thrushes are a favorite of many birders because they’re
more haunting and musical than most. In A, the Eastern Towhee has a similar trill
at the end but a descending slide comes first. And in B, the Song Sparrow puts its
trill in the middle instead of at the end. Interested in more? It’s fun, right?
There’s more where that came from. Be a better bird nerd. Take the full bird song
hero challenge. Learn everything there is to know about bird song and download
free bird songs at Birdsonghero.org Learn everything else there is to know about birds at, AllAboutBirds.org

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  1. Very interesting and fun to do.  I was pretty good at recognizing the sounds…..I'm going to download the app and learn more.

  2. Wow!  This showed me just how bad my hearing has become … there were many sounds I could not hear at all, even with my hearing aids 🙁

  3. Oof.  I learned that I have a lot to learn when it comes to reading spectrograms. Good fun! I'm off to see if I can find a spectrogram of a kookaburra call.

  4. I really wish I had known about this when I took ornithology in college…. I may have actually passed the audio portion of class!

  5. Bello canto de las aves ….. ¡ Maravillas de la Naturaleza ! …. bellas voces  de alabanza al Creador !!

  6. Omg finally I've found the bird whose call I was hearing- the Mourning Dove! I've been hearing it every morning!

  7. This is so interesting. Where I live there are not many of these birds, but I do hear Mourning Doves and Crows. I have a significant hearing loss, so I do not hear many of the other birds. I miss it so much. Bird songs are so beautiful.

  8. I will use this to EduTain my 9th grade biology students during 6 weeks exam week. I am a birder and found it extremely interesting to find that seeing the sound pattern did help me to "understand" the song. I'm subscribing!

  9. Awesome collection of bird songs, I really love seeing the individual beautiful patterns they make on the graphs for each different bird. Astonishing little creature

  10. Just a quibble – "more pitches than a piano" is absolutely false, there's no way any bird can sing seven octaves. Please check facts.

  11. Thanks for posting this! When editing bird song recordings for the daily Bird Game this is just what I see. It can be difficult to keep certain birds apart; some have a very similar rhythm. This is very informative!

  12. This is awesome and I wish I'd had it a decade ago. I'd quibble that you're not using the more iconic songs for the chickadee or lark, but maybe I just don't know which are considered true 'songs' as opposed to other vocalizations. Anyway, I'd love to see this for more species, like the east coast warblers.

  13. great video..iv heard..these calls..for many yrs…was never guite sure…which call..came from which…bird!

  14. Thank you so much. The joy of nature never ends and I am fortunate to hear many of these lovely notes, and now I can tell which note comes from which bird. The less common ones were particularly helpful. Bravo🌞

  15. This is awesome thank you so much . I may be a sap but at times I can't help but to get choked up over all this wonderful creation and life that is our to share.

  16. Ah…Wood Thrush!! I remember watching this video hundreds of times, so when I heard this call over and over today I was racking my brain, trying to figure out which one it was!!

  17. Ok what's a bird that has one call that goes from low to high? There's a blackbird at my work who goes crazy with the mimics and he's mimicking a bird that I'm not sure what it is. But it's not their normal call I checked.

  18. Nice video. However, a species of bird usually has several different vocalizations. And an individual species can sound different in different locations. Individual birds of a species may sound somewhat different from each other. But the overall idea here is generally very good.

  19. keep your birds company when you are gone with this alexa bird song skill:

    https://www.amazon.com/EDUYou-Budgie-Babble/dp/B07DBY86DZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-skills&ie=UTF8&qid=1528300506&sr=1-1&keywords=budgie+babble&dpID=61GvFP7j25L&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

  20. Our Carolina chickadees have a seesaw song and our song sparrows are like little bells, very musical. Ought come to our town and do some recordings!!!!

  21. Does anyone know what bird makes a call that sounds like it is saying ( with the pitch rising at the end ), either Birdie or Purdie?

  22. Subhn Allah beautiful birds🐦 thank you very much to this video Am from BAGHDAD IRAQ 🇮🇶 هذا خلق الله العضيم الواحد اﻻحد خلقنا وخلق الشمس والقمر والنجوم والسماوات واﻻرض وكل المخلوقات البريه والبحريه وكل اﻻنبياء والمرسلين واﻻولياء والصالحين عليهم الصﻻة والسﻻم اجمعين سبحان الله الخالق المبدع المصور مالك الملك انه على كل شي قدير

  23. This is a great video except for one teaching problem. It would be better to repeat the bird song and bird name one is learning at the end of each segment. Hearing all the other songs is useful but somewhat confusing, at least for all these old brain cells.

  24. That was fun. I love getting woken up by a bird that sits on the cable wire outside of my window. Although, he does wake me up at 5AM…I love summer and birds….

  25. This is so much easier to understand than all the names for bird sounds that really just confuse me. 😊 It's similar to what I've done to help remember a song so I can look it up later. I just draw the pattern I hear. This is an amazing find to help me with that!!

    I would love a page of just spectrographs with associated bird names. Then I could more easily put a name with all the lovely songs!

  26. For those of us who are professional musicians AND who are blessed to possess absolute pitch, the visuals are of no help whatsoever. We need to be able to search by area in the country for a list of birds that are indigenous to that area. Narrowing further, we need to be able to search by environment. An example might be "South Dakota", "northeast part of the state", "lakeside". We also need to be able to root out those birds still on the list that we are certain are NOT making the song we're trying to identify.

    My main issue is sorting out individuals from the cacophany. Put a bunch of finches (American goldfinch, house finch, and purple finch) together with house sparrows and other sparrows, and I'm at a loss to differentiate them despite being a professional musician with absolute pitch. Birds with more than one song such as the Northern cardinal or the bluejay cause similar problems unless one happens to actually see them singing which necessitates being near them.

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