I used to find it weird to read bird songs described in words. According to many guidebooks, an American Robin says, “cheerily cheer-up cheerio”! And an Eastern Kingbird says, “kit-kit-kitter-kitter”. The birds are speaking English!! So I found it even weirder to read the calls of Philippine birds ALSO in English! A Large Hawk-Cuckoo in the Philippines calling out “brain-fever” ? Seems totally inappropriate!
But, American birds speaking in English, I can accept! And the more I listen to the calls (in my iPad birding apps!), the more I appreciate the word descriptions. It makes it easier to remember the calls. I will have to read “The Singing Life of Birds an Intimate Guide to the Private Lives of Birds” by Donald Kroodsma to find out whether these word descriptions really are helpful or not.
I am willing to bet that Mr. Donald Kroodsma, “reigning authority on the biology of avian vocal behavior” will say word descriptions of songs ARE helpful!
Just listen to the song of the White-throated Sparrow (Zootrichia albicollis). It sings “Poor Sam Peabody” in the most haunting and doleful manner. It breaks my heart! Click on the player below to hear its sad, sad song.
White-throated Sparrow recorded by Andrew Spencer. This is a link from Xeno Canto.
I am so excited to see and hear this bird. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to recognize it from its song! Even if it looks so huge in my sketch. It looks like our common Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) but with yellow.