So here are some videos from the 24th (I know, the title says the same thing but I figured it would look weird if I jumped into the middle of a paragraph). This first video is one I made trying to get a Northern Cardinal to sing on camera…even if I couldn’t see him (probably him, I’m not sure the females make this call).  However, as soon as I pulled out the camera of course, it hopped farther into the trees, but kept singing occasionally.  So, in this video I managed to get the tag-end of what I think is an Indigo Bunting doing the double up-call whistle thing, sort of sounds like “chawee chawee chawoo chawoo cha-…” in this video, it’s faint and quickly gets run over by a very loud Blue-Jay’s …well, it’s not a squawk quite, and it’s not quite “aaaa-ehhh” but it is hard to put human phonetics on and it’s really obvious when the jay kicks in.  And then after a few of the jay calls, there’s more of a whistle-burble, that’s one of the Northern Cardinal calls.  “Twouuuuup! Twouuuuuup! Tchewwww!….”  They make two versions of this call, and one is kind of loooooooosely given the mnemonic by some of “What Cheer” …sort of… and I kind of get it, maybe.  You might be able to really morph the “Twouuup” into “What” and the “Tchew” could kind of  sort of sound like “cheer” …. Sometimes instead of the “twoup” first, they make the “tchew” first, kind of “Tcheww! Tcheww! Twouuup Twouuup Twouuup Twouuup!” Well, anyway, that’s who’ll be singing obvious parts in this next video… a bunting, an jay, and a cardinal.  They also make a sort of “purdy, purdy, purdy” call… but I haven’t managed to get that on camera yet.

Here’s another variant sung by a Northern Cardinal.  It’s nothing too specifically easy to phoneticize, but it’s still another example of the voice qualities of a cardinal.  For me, learning the phonetics of a song hardly ever helps a much as learning to simply recognize what a particular bird sounds like… it’s like your friends don’t always have to call you on the phone and then say the same thing to start the call with the same words for you to recognize their voice, and be able to guess if who’s called you, or at least know it’s not a telemarketer or political survey.


And later I managed to get a bird that’s bothered me since we moved south… it was a REALLY memorable call.  And I’d hear it a LOT sometimes.  And it would always be JUST a tad to much in the leaves to see who was making that noise… and even though it sounded a bit like a fly catcher, it wasn’t.  However, when I was trying to figure something else out, which I think had actually been the Indigo Bunting, I’d seen something like a tanager hop through the shrub/tree clump area near where I was hearing the singing.  And then I saw something else hop out, a slightly different shape and color and size, and that was the bunting, and turned out it had been singing (after some research). But when I looked up the tanager to see if it sounded similar to what I’d heard, I realized a few things.  One, I’d probably heard the tanager around singing it’s singy song thing, but I’d DEFINITELY heard one of it’s other calls, the Tck-Burrrr! call.  (And ok, I’m not sure if there’s a difference between “song” and “call” and other terms like that in a really specific and learned ornithologist’s vocabulary… but at this point I’m using them sort-of interchangably, but usually a song is more musical to me, and a ‘call’ is more like a statement, a “hey” or “I’m here” or “what!?” or an interjection… they tend to be shorter and less ornamented and musically ornate… but then again, remember this is just how I’m organizing them in my thoughts, not how they might be used in a more formal and scholarly setting).

So, after all that, here’s one verbalization, I think of it as more of a call than a song, and it’s the Scarlet Tanager.

I really wish I had some good pictures to show you of these birds, but they don’t hold still where I can see them when I have a camera… but making noise when you’re hiding in a tree doesn’t quite make you stealth-mode silent…


So, thanks for listening and reading, I hope this was interesting.  I never know when I’m going to go “SO THAT’S WHAT THAT WAS” when I hear a random bit of birdsong or see a bit of information. Maybe these videos will cause that click for someone else, too!